U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, a Laurens Republican, is raising some eyebrows after likening illegal immigrants to animals and vagrants during a talk Monday to Furman University students.
During a student event at the Greenville university, Duncan was answering a question about the complexity of political issues and used illegal immigration as an example.
“It’s kind of like having a house — and you’re not homeowners, a lot of folks in this room, but your moms and dads are — taking the door off the hinges and allowing any kind of vagrant, or animal, or just somebody that’s hungry, or somebody that wants to do your dishes for you, to come in. And you can’t say, ‘No you can’t come in.’ And you can’t say, ‘No you can’t stay all night.’ Or ‘No you can’t have this benefit, using my deodorant.’ All those things,” Duncan said, according to The Greenville News.
“We’re giving those benefits away, which we earn as citizens of this nation, of being legalized citizens.”
Victoria Middleton, executive director of the ACLU of South Carolina, said Duncan’s comments were unfortunate.
“Like everyone else in this country, immigrants are entitled to be treated humanely, with fairness and under the laws of our Constitution,” Middleton said. “The analogy that Congressman Duncan makes is both unfortunate and inappropriate.
Duncan’s office defended the statement Tuesday, saying Duncan was not making a comparison.
“Congressman Duncan was simply saying what South Carolinians already know, that securing our borders is just like securing our homes,” said Allen Klump, Duncan’s spokesman. “A border with no fence is like a house with no doors, where anyone or anything can come and go as they please.”
Klump added: “It would be both incorrect and extremely unfortunate to assign any other meaning to the congressman’s remarks.”
Illegal immigration is a hot topic in both Washington, D.C., and South Carolina, where lawmakers passed a new law last year that requires law enforcement to check the immigration status of those they come in contact with, including drivers stopped for traffic violations.
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