Kansas legislator says illegal immigrants should be shot down from helicopters–then says he was joking

Kansas Legislator Virgil Peck yesterday suggested one good way to control illegal immigration in the state would be to shoot people suspected of being in the state without proper documentation.

He later said he was joking, but a local newspaper noted he seemed “unapologetic.”

From the Lawrence Journal-World:

A legislator said Monday it might be a good idea to control illegal immigration the way the feral hog population has been controlled: with gunmen shooting from helicopters.

Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, said he was just joking, but that his comment did reflect frustration with the problem of illegal immigration.

Peck made his comment during a discussion by the House Appropriations Committee on state spending for controlling feral swine.

After one of the committee members talked about a program that uses hunters in helicopters to shoot wild swine, Peck suggested that may be a way to control illegal immigration.

Asked about his comment, Peck was unapologetic. “I was just speaking like a southeast Kansas person,” he said.

He said most of his constituents are upset with illegal immigration and the state and federal government response.

He said he didn’t expect any further controversy over his comment. “I think it’s over,” he said.

Last month, another state legislator, Rep. Connie O’Brien, R-Tonganoxie, apologized after referring to a college student as an illegal immigrant because of her “olive complexion.”

Peck may think it is over, but he may be wrong. Today, Somos Republicans sent a letter to members of the Kansas Legislature asking for an apology among other things.

Dear Kansas legislators,

I was horrified to hear of Rep. Virgil Peck’s comments yesterday. I am very disturbed that he would think of fellow mankind in this manner — to treat them like animals. Whether you call them “illegal” or undocumented, they share a common denominator with us — they are human. Do you believe that all men are created equal? Or, do you believe the same way Mr. Peck does? That they are animals?

Let’s not forget how Hitler began the dehumanization process with our Jewish friends. He referred to the Jewish as rats, so that German neighbors would be desensitized to them when they were getting ready to deport them. If Mr. Peck wants to advocate deporting the undocumented, then so be it, however, it is wrong to advocate for the shooting and killing of people, and looking at them as if they were animals. This is the worst kind of evil hatred I can think of.

Will leaders of the Kansas legislature rise from this and openly condemn Rep. Virgil Peck? I certainly hope so, and we will be keenly watching to see which one of you has the courage to do so because Peck’s comments are absolutely horrendous.

I know that Kansas benefits from the immigrant labor that agricultural farmers depend on. In fact, when Arizona Senator Russell Pearce advocated for “Operation Wetback” (his words and not mine), in the form of SB 1070, mass exodus took place leaving an agricultural labor deficit. In fact, Yuma is the lettuce capitol of the nation during winter time, and this year we had to depend on lettuce being imported from other countries because 40% of the Yuma, Arizona, lettuce did not get picked. It is extremely hard to find agricultural laborers willing to work in 115 degree heat, and several Americans like Mr. Peck do not realize how immigrants benefit Americans by keeping food prices low where inflation and gas prices are on the rise.

Who will take care of the retiring baby boomers? The only way we can take care of the baby boomers and their burgeoning social security entitlements is to eliminate the program if we don’t have develop a pro growth strategy within the next decade. A healthy and legal immigration solution will secure our borders, create a safer North American Continent and promote a stronger relationship with our contiguous neighbors. Enforcement-only initiatives promote a situation that emulates the failed days of Prohibition, which serves only to encourage the underground labor market. Our government needs the additional tax revenues that new immigrants generate in order to sustain the burgeoning entitlement programs baby boomers require as they continue to retire. By developing a reasonable legal immigration plan, we create a system where immigrants share American tax burdens as they continue to contribute millions of dollars into our tax coffers. New immigrants sharing our tax burdens will help discourage our government from increasing taxes, because under the current system these entitlement programs will drain all federal revenues within 15 years.

I hope each and every one of you openly denounce Mr. Peck’s comments, and rather than advocating the shooting of “illegals”, I hope you advocate for a reasonable solution.

We will be contacting the Speaker of the House, Mike O’Neal and Rep. Arlen Siegfried (Majority leader) regarding the official conduct rules since the statements were made on the floor. Since Kansas law does not guide the House Ethics Committee with regard to behavior of the floor of representatives, we believe there needs to be a statute that will eliminate (the kind of speech) that was displayed by Mr. Peck yesterday when he was advocating the shooting of people and treating them like animals.


DeeDee Garcia Blase

Garcia Blase has received one response so far from her letter:

Dee Dee,
I am forwarding your mail on to my leadership , Rep. Davis and Rep. Burroughs. Please communicate with them the seriousness of this issue; comparing feral hogs to a race of people.
I’ve asked them to request censuring and removal of Peck’s chairmanship.
Stay in touch with me
Louis E. Ruiz
Representative State of Kansas
District #32

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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