Immigrant rights activists and civil rights groups are calling on Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to retract his appointment of Phil Kent to the state’s newly-formed Immigration Enforcement Review Board.
The seven members of the board are tasked with reviewing complaints that local governments and other entities are not enforcing the state’s strict immigration law, which went into effect on July 1.
Critics of Kent point to his record as a spokesman for American Immigration Control and as the executive director of the American Immigration Control Foundation. Daniel Werner, deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice project, told Politico these are “white supremacist organizations.”
In a 2007 column in the Washington Times, Kent said the Mexican government is undermining the U.S. government and attempting to effectively annex parts of the United States.
“Not since the heyday of expansionist Soviet communism has there been such an organized effort to undermine our nation,” Kent wrote. “The Mexican government promotes reconquista in the Southwest. Isn’t it obvious in many areas that Mexicans are pushing out Americans, refusing to speak English and establishing de facto Mexican enclaves?”
Critics also point out Georgia’s review board does not include any minority members.
Since being signed last May, Georgia’s tough law has created controversy. An immigrant rights activist launched a hunger strike outside the state capital, and a federal judge blocked certain parts of the law, such as a provision allowing police officers to verify the citizenship status of suspected illegals not carrying identification.