Not cool, Buck McKeon.
According to a Buzzfeed piece today, McKeon–a Congressman representing parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties–was speaking at a Veterans of Foreign Wars event this week in Simi Valley, California when he suggested that terrorists from the Middle East might disguise themselves as Hispanics to cross the border.
As McKeon said:
There are people that can’t tell the difference between a Hispanic person and an Arab person…They can mingle in, and they can get in here, and then they can do damage.
This kind of viewpoint aligns McKeon with the likes of anti-immigrant super-hardliner Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who is so convinced that terrorists regularly come across the border while posing as immigrants that he even coined the idea of “terror babies.” But unlike Gohmert, who represents Texas’ solidly-red 1st District, McKeon represents a population that is 35% Latino and only went for Mitt Romney in 2012 by 1.9%.
At least McKeon did mention that he backs some kind of legalization for immigrants. As he also says in the video below:
I would secure the border, I would come up with a program…to make everybody legal, give them some kind of status to bring them into the system. And then we have to follow the system.
When it comes to Republicans and immigration reform, the movement–and constituents like McKeon’s–are looking for leaders who will consistently do and say the right thing on immigration. That means avoiding the kind of hateful rhetoric and divisive fear-mongering so frequently heard from the Steve King crowd. And it means standing up for real reform with a path to citizenship, not just inching along toward embracing eventual reform. It’s not hard. At least 22 House Republicans have managed to do exactly that.
Watch the video of McKeon’s remarks below, courtesy of Buzzfeed: