TAMPA, Fla — An Arizona Republican candidate for the House accused “Middle Eastern” people of attempting to “mix” with illegal Mexican immigrants to the United States in an effort to “cause harm” to Americans.
In a 2011 interview with the conservative website westernfreepress.com (embedded below), Saucedo Mercer, who is running in tonight's Arizona primary and, if she wins, will likely square off against incumbent Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva, discusses illegal immigration into the United States.
In the interview, the Republican notes that many illegal immigrants that have been caught by federal officials comes from areas other than Latin America — including the Middle East.
“If you know Middle Easterners, a lot of them look Mexican, or they look like a lot of people in South America — dark skin, dark hair brown eyes. And they mix. They mix in,” she said.
“And those people, their only goal in life is to cause harm to the United States. So why do we want them here, either legally or illegally,” she added, arguing, “They have found prayer rugs, they have found copies of the Koran. So that tells you this is not just poor illegals who are trying to come to this country to try and find work.”
Saucedo Mercer has been endorsed by Gov. Jan Brewer, according to her website.
Saucedo Mercer also slammed progressives in the interview, arguing that “right now we have communism and people are calling it progressivism.” Her possible future opponent Grijalva is the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Grijalva’s office, which produced a web video that includes her comments in it, slammed her statements.
"This is reckless hate speech, and I call on everyone who has endorsed Gabriela Mercer to withdraw their support immediately … her comments are reprehensible and deserve condemnation from every quarter,” Grijalva said in a statement Tuesday.
A spokesman for Saucedo Mercer did not immediately return a request for comment.
The full two part interview is below.
John Stanton is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New Orleans. In 2014, Stanton was a recipient of the National Press Foundation’s 2014 Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress.
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