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Georgia Governor Appoints Hate Group Leader to Immigration Board

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal today appointed a longtime leader in an anti-immigrant hate group to serve on a new state panel charged with enforcing the state’s harsh new immigration law.

Phil Kent was among those named by Deal to a new Immigration Enforcement Review Board. Created as part of Georgia’s punishing new anti-immigrant law — the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 — the panel will “review and investigate complaints related to illegal immigration and it will hold the authority to sanction those found to have violated Georgia’s immigration law.” (The Southern Poverty Law Center is part of a coalition of civil rights groups challenging the law in federal court.)

Phil Kent is a longtime national spokesman for Americans for Immigration Control (AIC), a relationship mentioned in the Kent bio provided by the governor’s office. According to ProEnglish, another group Kent is involved in, he also serves as executive director of the American Immigration Control Foundation (AICF), a partner organization to AIC.

The SPLC has listed AIC and AICF, together, as a hate group for more than a decade. As the SPLC has previously reported, AICF has produced mounds of anti-immigrant propaganda over its more than two decades of existence. Particularly notable is the video “Immigration: Making America Less Beautiful?,” which is filled with a cornucopia of racist images. The video depicts a “raging flood” of Latinos, Haitians and other immigrants  — “the greatest wave of immigration the world has ever witnessed” — threatening America’s “generally European” core with “foreign domination.” In the video, Miami is a “Third World nightmare” where “illegal aliens” practice “voodoo” and leave stinking “human waste” in the streets. “America is beautiful,” says the narrator. “Why spoil it?”

Kent’s close colleague at AIC is John Vinson, who has held leadership positions in both AIC and AICF since signing on with the groups in 1990. Vinson wrote the AICF-published Immigration and Nation: A Biblical View, in which he claims that it is against God’s will to weaken the “divinely unique” character of every nation. In the case of America, Vinson makes clear in the booklet that character belongs to English-speaking, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. He says that assimilating “the races of the world” is “an impossible task” and argues that current immigration patterns may “destroy our nationhood.” Vinson also attacks the “spiritual Balkanization” he claims is promoted by non-Christian immigration.

Vinson is also a founding member of the neo-Confederate hate group League of the South, one of whose leaders has argued that slavery is “God-ordained.” Another made the statement, “Somebody needs to say a good word for slavery. Where in the world are the Negroes better off today than in America?”

Kent has additional connections to extremists. His articles have run in publications of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a white supremacist hate group that believes “mixing the races is rebelliousness against God” and that has described black people as a “retrograde species of humanity.” An article penned by Kent that ran in the CCC’s newsletter in 1999 described the CCC as a good conservative group that had been “targeted for demonization by the political leadership of the Left and its media allies.” Kent described his participation at one of the group’s national meetings where there was a discussion by “some speakers urging preparation for a future North American balkanization whereby some majority-white country in middle America might be established.” Sam Francis, then the CCC’s newsletter editor, called at the meeting for the repeal of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, according to Kent. In other issues of the CCC’s publication, Kent’s books are advertised for sale.

Kent also serves on the board of ProEnglish, a group that pushes for government documents, such as driver’s license tests, to be printed only in English. ProEnglish is the creation of John Tanton, the racist architect of the modern anti-immigrant movement. Tanton has made his white nationalist views clear, writing that he believes that “for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.” In a memo Tanton prepared for the leadership of the Washington anti-immigrant lobbying group Federation for American Immigration Reform, Tanton questioned the “educability” of Latinos and warned of a coming “Latin onslaught.” Tanton serves on ProEnglish’s board with Kent, and Tanton’s foundation, U.S. Inc., funds the organization.

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