Activists invoke KKK as reason to oppose illegal immigration crackdown

9:27 AM, Apr 26, 2011   |    comments
Homemade banner over Atlanta's Downtown Connector, opposing crackdown on illegal immigration
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ATLANTA -- Across Georgia, the attack rhetoric is getting hotter over illegal immigration, because of the legislature's vote for a tough crackdown on illegal immigrants -- a bill that Governor Deal has said he will soon sign into law and put into effect.

People who oppose the crackdown and want the governor to veto the legislation -- the legislation is formally named "House Bill 87" -- are now putting up homemade banners on highway bridges.

The banner they hung Monday morning on the North Ave. bridge over the Downtown Connector refers to a north Georgia Ku Klux Klan group that supports the immigration crackdown: "KKK Supports HB87. Gov. Deal, Do You?"

Someone removed the banner by mid-morning.

One of the Atlanta volunteers in the banner campaign is Bekah Ward, who told 11Alive News Monday evening that she does not believe the banner is saying that all supporters of HB87 are KKK sympathizers.

"It's not my intent to insult anyone. It is, instead, my intent to raise awareness about the real content of this bill. And the kind of history that Georgia wants to maintain. Georgia has a proud history of civil rights. And we want to maintain that history, not denigrate it. It's hate legislation, it's legislation the KKK approves of. And that's not the direction our state needs to go."

The main sponsor of the crackdown, Rep. Matt Ramsey, (R) Peachtree City, told 11Alive News that the banner campaign amounts to "more left-wing hysterics by extremists who can't accept that most Georgians want the governor to sign it into law."

Supporters of the banner campaign, who describe it as a grassroots effort, include Somos Georgia, "a growing movement of Georgians committed to immigrant, racial and economic justice," according to its website.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that The Diversity Projekt is helping organize the banner campaign, but Kathrin Ivanovic, blogger at The Diversity Projekt and an organizer with Somos Georgia, said that Somos Georgia is helping publicize the effort that others started.

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