GOP gubernatorial candidate wanted English-only government to ward off migrants

Lt. Governor Dan Forest (R-NC) also warned recently that America's diversity and multiculturalism are a major threat.

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R-NC) once pushed for English-only state government to scare off immigrants.
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R-NC) once pushed for English-only state government to scare off immigrants. CREDIT: Forest's official Flickr page.

2020 Republican gubernatorial candidate and North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R) came under fire recently for comments, first reported by ThinkProgress, warning that America’s diversity was a huge threat to its continued existence.

Now, a newly unearthed video makes clear that his xenophobic views are nothing new.

Forest first ran for lieutenant governor in 2012. At a Raleigh Tea Party rally on Tax Day that year, he delivered a speech about the supposed dangers of immigration. A resurfaced video of those remarks, discovered by American Bridge 21st Century, a progressive research organization, shows him proposing an English-only North Carolina as a way to scare off undocumented immigrants.

“We’re also ranked 42nd in the nation in illegal immigration. Only eight states have a worse problem with illegal immigration than we have. We have somewhere between 600,000 and 1.2 million illegal immigrants in North Carolina. It costs our state nearly $2 billion a year. That’s unsustainable,” Forest warned, quoting a ridiculous estimate pushed by anti-immigrant hate groups.


His proposals to get rid of these undocumented immigrants included implementing E-VERIFY programs for employers, funding 287(g) programs to deputize local law enforcement with the authority to act as federal immigration agents, implementing strict photo voter identification laws to address the virtually non-existent problem of in-person voter fraud, and “mak[ing] sure that we mandate English as the official language of North Carolina.”

Forest did not respond to a ThinkProgress inquiry about whether he still believes that non-English speakers — even citizens — shouldn’t be allowed to communicate with their government in other languages. But a sermon he delivered in June conveyed a similar anti-diversity worldview.

“[N]o other nation, my friends, has ever survived the diversity and multiculturalism that America faces today, because of a lack of assimilation, because of this division, and because of this identity politics,” he told the Salisbury-based Cornerstone Church at its “Celebrate America Service.”

If Forest wins the GOP nomination, he would face Gov. Roy Cooper (D) next November.