WASHINGTON - Kansas state Rep. Virgil Peck, is apologizing for racists comments he made during a House Appropriations Committee discussion of controlling feral swine.
During a discussion on controlling the hog population, another committee member discussed how hunters in helicopters are used, to which Peck replied, "Looks like to me, if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works, maybe we have found a (solution) to our illegal immigration problem."
The comments have prompted calls for Peck's resignation and garnered the following statement from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus:
Chairman Charles A. Gonzalez said, "It was with utter dismay that I read Kansas State Representative Virgil Peck’s comments before the Kansas House Appropriations Committee. His comments were dehumanizing and inappropriate and have no place in our national discourse. They are also counterproductive to having a responsible debate, have the potential to result in regrettable consequences and could incite prejudices and biases that are harmful to our nation. Speaking of human beings like animals and implying gun violence as an acceptable course of action crosses a line that his own party and his own peers should not tolerate.
As the Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus I call on the Kansas and National Republican Parties to denounce his comments and demonstrate to the American people that this kind of speech will not be tolerated.”
The League of United Latin American Citizens had this to add:
LULAC is calling upon Kansas State Representative Virgil Peck to resign from his position immediately for viciously suggesting that the State of Kansas begin shooting undocumented immigrants from helicopters just as they do with feral hogs.
During a discussion in the Kansas House Appropriations Committee about eliminating feral hogs, Representative Peck (R- Tyro) made the following statement on the record, “It looks like to me that if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works maybe we have found a solution to our illegal immigration problem.”
“Representative Peck’s comments about shooting immigrants and likening them to hogs are an outrageous dehumanization of hardworking Kansas residents,” stated Margaret Moran, LULAC National President. “His despicable comments set a new low in the hostile and xenophobic political attacks against America’s immigrant communities.”
LULAC is calling upon Kansas Governor Sam Brownback to repudiate Peck’s shocking comments and is demanding that the Kansas Republican Party disassociate itself from the lawmaker’s views.
“Many of us were concerned that the bi-partisan commitment to tone down the violent political rhetoric after the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords might not last,” stated Brent Wilkes, LULAC National Executive Director. “None could have predicted that it would end with such brutal and disgraceful words from an elected official targeting the most vulnerable population in our country.”
LULAC believes that dehumanizing language used by anti-immigrant legislators is in large part responsible for the drastic increase in hate crimes being committed against Latinos and immigrant communities. “When a politician speaks of shooting immigrants, even if supposedly done as a joke, the message sent to his or her constituents is that actual violence against immigrants is condoned by their government,” stated Margaret Moran.
The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Hispanic membership organization in the country, advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating through 890 LULAC councils nationwide.