Local conservative activist under cloud
U.S. residency status unclear for former leader of Americans for Prosperity chapter
The man who has been the Mesa County director of Americans for Prosperity since 2009 is Canadian, has benefited from government-issued food stamps and has an undetermined residency status.
That’s ironic even to Kelly Sloan, the Grand Junction resident who, until recently, wrote a newspaper column touting the group’s ideals of smaller government and legal immigration, and its opposition to such government programs as food stamps.
But Sloan, who was replaced as the group’s local director earlier this month, said he’s always made it clear that he’s here legally, has never tried to vote in local elections and has never been paid by any political candidate or campaign, even though he has often volunteered for conservative causes and politicians, such as acting as campaign treasurer for Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction.
“Yeah, I’m Canadian, that’s one of the reasons I’m doing this,” Sloan said. “I came here for the same reason that immigrants have come to this country for 200 years: A better life for my family. I go through that (citizenship) process, and part of that process, I think, is to be involved in the political process to the extent I legally can.”
Still, when AFP decided to open up a regional office in town last week, it came as a surprise to some that Sloan wasn’t hired as its paid director.
That’s partly because of his Canadian citizenship and his residency status, said Jeff Crank, AFP’s state director.
“If I were to find out that he’s not here legally, then obviously I will request that he not use the name, Americans for Prosperity, or carry any title with it ‘cause we’re not going to support that,” Crank said. “He’s actually a Canadian citizen so we couldn’t hire him if we wanted to. As a volunteer, though, we’ll support anyone who supports our mission.”
Crank said he’s asked Kelly for documents that show his residency status but has yet to see anything.
Still, Crank said his group would never hire a Canadian or anyone else who isn’t a citizen of the United States.
Sloan said his residency officially is in an “adjustment” phase, which he described as a legal status that comes between an expired visa and an official green card.
“What I can legally do under my status is run a business, contract and write,” said Sloan, whose wife, Brenda, is a native-born citizen. “I could have renewed my visa but that would just put my green card process back again. I’m here legally. I don’t vote. I don’t want to vote until I’m a citizen. If you want to come to this country, do it the way I’m doing it, and do it legally.”
On her Facebook page, Brenda Sloan recently showed anger with her husband’s residency status, saying he’s been “dragging his feet” about filing his immigration papers.
She said she was considering writing letters to the editor threatening to expose him.
“He’d be ruined,” she wrote in one posting earlier this month. “I’m fed up with this.”
Sloan said his wife doesn’t understand the process it takes to become a naturalized citizen and he has since educated her on the matter.
In a July 13 posting, she said the family was having income problems and was using food stamps.
Shortly after discussing the issue with The Daily Sentinel on Friday, all comments on his wife’s page were obscured from public view.