Amid a tense debate over immigration policy in Alabama, Republican Rep. Mo Brooks told constituents at a town hall meeting Wednesday that he would "do anything short of shooting" illegal immigrants while working on immigration-related legislation.
"As your congressman on the House floor, I'll do anything short of shooting them, anything that is lawful," Brooks told a local CBS affiliate reporter, repeating comments made during the town hall. "It needs to be done because illegal aliens need to quit taking jobs from American citizens."
Brooks argued that immigrants were "clogging up emergency rooms," increasing the cost of education and filling local jails.
"I wanted to ensure people that I have an intensity on this subject—that we have to address the illegal alien issue," he said.
Well, if Brooks was determined to convey the appearance of "intensity," he definitely succeeded. But he'll be sure to pay for it with a firestorm of criticism from his opponents.
Brooks' comments come just weeks after Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed a strict immigration bill into law that would require state and local police to check the immigration status of detainees they suspect may be in the country illegally. The law also encourages public school officials to determine the legal status of students and requires all business to run the names of their employees through a federal database called E-Verify to make sure they are legally sanctioned to work in the United States.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups in the state have vowed to fight the new law in court before it takes effect on September 1.
You can watch the full video below. Brooks' remarks appear at about the 2:00 mark:
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