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Sen. Mike Lee: Doesn’t Help GOP To Speak Of Immigrants In “Demeaning” Terms

"I don't think it helps to speak of immigrants in terms that are insulting or demeaning."

Last updated on July 3, 2018, at 1:33 p.m. ET

Posted on January 11, 2016, at 11:39 a.m. ET

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Republican Sen. Mike Lee, a leader in the Tea Party movement, says members of his party should remember to speak of immigrants in terms that aren't demeaning.

Speaking with Utah's BeeHive Startups podcast this week, Lee was asked if he was concerned about some of the rhetoric in this year's Republican presidential primary surrounding immigration.

"I certainly think we need to make clear at every stage that we are a nation of immigrants and we can all hope that we'll continue to be a nation of immigrants," the Utah senator said. "It's not a source of weakness, it's a source of strength. And so, regardless of what position anyone chooses to take on border security, on how many visas we ought to be issuing, on what to do about the 11 million people who are here illegally right now, regardless of your position on that, you at least ought to acknowledge the fact that we're talking about human beings and human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect."

"And we ought to be talking about this in terms of how to design an immigration system that serves and furthers and facilities the American dream," said Lee. "That's where the focus ought to be.

"I don't think it helps to speak of immigrants in terms that are insulting or demeaning," he added.

Listen to the full interview below: