Roan Garcia-Quintana is the Cuban-born, immigrant-bashing executive director of the nativist group Americans Have Had Enough. A former Reagan administration appointee, he is longtime South Carolina political operative with deep roots in the GOP. He is also a lifetime member and board member of the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens.
In His Own Words
“Why don’t you go back to where you came from? Puerto Ricans have a problem with this country. Y’all think y’all don’t belong here for some reason. That’s your problem. Y’all are American citizens. It happened in 1898. But you don’t feel that way.”
— South Carolina Senate hearing on a proposed immigration bill, May 2010.
“South Carolina has been overrun by illegals. The question I ask to all of you is, ‘What do you want South Carolina to be like?’ We already have our own criminals. We don’t need to import criminals.”
— South Carolina legislative hearing, 2011.
“It’s not about immigration. … It’s about an illegal alien invasion!”
— Garcia-Quintana’s website, accessed July 2013
Roan Garcia-Quintana is executive director of Americans Have Had Enough, an anti-immigrant group based in Mauldin, S.C., where he lives.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Garcia-Quintana immigrated to Savannah, Ga., when he was 10. He claims to be European-American even though he was born in Cuba, and says his ancestors came from Spain. Garcia-Quintana likes to call himself “Havana born, Savannah raised” and refers to himself as a “Confederate Cuban.”
He is a longtime South Carolina political operative and an activist in the Tea Party movement. He told the Charleston City Paper in 2013 that he had worked as a pollster for the late Republican consultant Lee Atwater on 22 House and Senate races, and on President Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign. After that election, Reagan appointed him as deputy director of the National Institute of Education.
Garcia-Quintana ran for the South Carolina state Senate’s District 7 seat as the Republican nominee in 2008 and came in second with 27 percent of the vote.
He has held a number of government jobs, mostly related to education. According to his autobiography on the Charleston Tea Party’s website (accessed in July 2013), he has worked as a statistician for the South Carolina departments of Juvenile Justice and Education; research director for the state’s Joint Legislative Committee of Families and Children; and director of information resource management at Savannah Technical College in Georgia. Garcia-Quintana also has worked for the Georgia Department of Education and as a senior research analyst with the Gallup Organization. He has taught mathematics and computer languages at the University of South Carolina and Midlands Technical College in Columbia, S.C.
Garcia-Quintana is a lifetime member of the crudely racist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a white nationalist group that is the modern reincarnation of the old White Citizens Councils that battled school desegregation in the South in the 1950s and 1960s. The group’s website has featured pictures comparing pop singer Michael Jackson to an ape and has referred to black people as a “retrograde species of humanity.” Garcia-Quintana is a member of the CCC’s national board of directors. At the CCC’s 2008 conference in Sheffield, Ala., he called Latino immigration an “illegal alien invasion” and said that corporate fascists import Latinos.
After his affiliation with the CCC was revealed in June 2013, he was forced to resign from S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s campaign re-election steering committee. Afterward, he told the Charleston City Paper that despite being a lifetime member of the CCC, he did not read the group’s statement of principles until someone confronted him about it. “That was written by someone I’ve never met, and that was written a long, long time ago,” he said. Those principles say the CCC opposes “all efforts by the state and other powers to weaken the structure of the American family through toleration of sexual licentiousness, homosexuality and other perversions, mixture of the races, pornography in all forms, and subversion of the authority of parents.” The principles also oppose “all efforts” to “force the integration of the races” and call for the U.S. to maintain its European "composition and character."
In comments after his resignation from Haley’s committee, he went on to talk about her physical characteristics (she is the daughter of Indian immigrants) in relation to white people. “She has the features of a Caucasian: her nose, her eyes, her cheeks, her mouth. That’s really how you describe it.”
In 2011, commenting on a controversial immigration bill in South Carolina, he stressed the importance of targeting the businesses that hire undocumented workers, stating, “Maybe some jobs will open up. They will self-deport if we make it so they’re not welcome and target employers. It’s all about greed and selfishness.” Garcia-Quintana also resents any comparisons between the U.S. civil rights movement and the plight of undocumented Latino immigrants. “Civil rights is about American citizens. This [illegal immigration] is not about American citizens or legal immigrants.”
According to an article on the SC Hotline website (schotline.us) Garcia-Quintana allegedly threatened the son of a fellow South Carolina conservative, Dr. Christina Jeffrey. It was reported that Jeffrey’s son, Rick Price, introduced himself to Garcia-Quintana at a social function at Greenville Technical College and told Garcia-Quintana he was disappointed at some of the things Garcia-Quintana had written about his mother. Allegedly, Garcia-Quintana mistook Price’s gesturing as a threat and “stepped back and planted his right foot, balled both of his fists, and yelled, ‘Don’t touch me or I’ll put you on the ground!’” When campus police questioned Garcia-Quintana, he claimed to be a martial arts expert.
If Garcia-Quintana gets his way, undocumented immigrants will be arrested if they are caught driving without a license and will languish in jail until they can be deported. Their cars will be impounded if they are caught driving without insurance. Garcia-Quintana would like to make English the language of South Carolina. According to his “Quintana for SC Senate” website in 2008, “What we want to accomplish is to STOP the enticements for illegal aliens. To do that we must remove the license to operate a business from anyone who continually hires illegal aliens and make it unpleasant for illegals to live here in South Carolina.”