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November 9, 2012

ProEnglish Recruits Controversial Signatories for Letter to House and Senate Leadership

The Virginia-based anti-immigrant group ProEnglish, founded by racist John Tanton, recently sent a letter to the leadership of the U.S. House and Senate on the issue of Puerto Rican statehood, which  featured a number of controversial anti-immigrant activists as signatories. The coalition of 21 signatories included John Vinson, of the Virginia-based anti-immigrant group Americans for Immigration Control (AIC), Rick Oltman, formerly of the DC-based anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), and Phil Kent, a ProEnglish board member. The letter they signed calls on the House and Senate leadership to “include specific English language requirements in any legislation to admit Puerto Rico as the 51st State.” Voters in Puerto Rico voted on November 6 in favor of becoming a U.S. state, in a non-binding referendum.

Phil Kent is a longtime anti-immigrant activist based in Georgia who once suggested that citizens should be wary of multiculturalism, stating, “What will be the values and ideas of a multicultural America? What will it mean to be white after ‘whiteness’ no longer defines the cultural mainstream?” Kent also spoke at the 2009 Social Contract Press Writers Workshop, a group founded by Tanton. The workshop is held annually and often features racist speakers, including Peter Brimelow, the founder of the anti-immigrant website VDARE.

Rick Oltman, a former FAIR employee, addressed the 1997 conference of the white supremacist group Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC). When Oltman spoke at an anti-immigrant rally in 1998 in Cullman, Alabama, an ad for the rally published in the Spring 1998 edition of CofCC’s newsletter, the Council Reporter, described Oltman as a “member” of the organization. Oltman also has had six articles published in The Social Contract (TSC), an anti-immigrant journal, published by Tanton’s Social Contract Press.

John Vinson, the president of AIC, also has ties to CofCC.  Like Oltman, Vinson spoke at a CofCC conference (in 1999) and has had many articles published in TSC. In fact, Vinson guest edited the summer 1998 edition of TSC titled, “Europhobia: The Hostility Toward European-Descended Americans.” The issue featured a number of articles written by white supremacists, such as Jared Taylor and Sam Francis.

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