Gabriela Mercer, the likely Republican congressional candidate in Arizona's new 3rd District, once declared that the only goal of Middle Easterners crossing America's southern border was to "cause harm to the United States."
"I don't have the numbers -- I remember taking notes, but if I remember correctly, it was 25,000 that they were able to apprehend, other than Mexicans," Mercer said in an interview with the conservative website Western Free Press.
"That includes Chinese, other Middle Easterners. If you know Middle Easterners, a lot of them, they 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. 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? When they come across the border -- besides the trash that they leave behind, the drug smugglings, the killings, the beheadings -- you are seeing stuff: it's a war out there."
Later in the interview, Mercer, a Tea Party favorite who seems poised to win the right to challenge Rep. Raul Grijalva this November, discussed the damage that illegal immigration was causing to "the habitat."
"Some of the groups that are out there talking about destruction of the habitat, the trash that is left behind in private property. They have found prayer rugs, they have found copies of the Koran. So that tells you this is not just poor illegals that are trying to come to this country and find work," she said. "It is bigger than that."
The interview took place in June 2011, and has been unearthed and circulated by Grijalva's campaign, conveniently timed to the day of Arizona's primary elections. Mercer, who legally immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico in 1986, is expected to win.
HERE IS THE GRIJALVA CAMPAIGN VIDEO:
HERE IS THE FULL WESTERN FREE PRESS VIDEO (relevant part starts at 8:00):
Mercer isn't the only lawmaker to propound the theory that radical Muslim extremists are taking advantage of America's immigration laws to inflict harm. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) once called illegal immigration a "slow-motion terrorist attack." Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) has insisted that terrorists come to America to have babies so they can be born as U.S. citizens.
Mercer would put a Hispanic face on the far-fetched theory. It's unclear whether publicizing Mercer's comments will help or hurt her campaign.
Mercer's campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.