Last month, Republicans launched a “listening” campaign called America Speaking Out, an effort to allow the public to give them ideas on their national agenda. As part of the campaign, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) — who has gained notoriety for her hateful bigotry — hosted a tele-townhall last night to give her North Carolina constituents “a seat at the table.” During the event, Foxx endorsed one caller’s paranoid fear of immigrants:
CALLER: First, I appreciate what you do. Watching TV and seeing all the illegals streaming into the United States and hearing that they’re not only from Mexico but from Afghanistan and other countries, I wonder how many terrorists are in our own country right now plotting to kill us.
FOXX: A lot…a lot.
CALLER: I want the borders to Mexico sealed tight and I want a dragnet put out for these people to see if we can’t catch ’em.
FOXX: You are very much in the majority in this country and you and I certainly agree on that. I would encourage you to let your senators know that…again we have no disagreement on that.
Other callers seized the opportunity to speak out about their own offensive opinions on the issues of the day. One caller argued that a better crackdown on companies “hiring illegals” would “cause illegals to deport themselves” and “get rid of all the anchor babies.” Another denounced welfare as a program for “young women who make a virtual career out of having babies out of wedlock and getting paid for it.”
America Speaking Out projects are a magnet for the “odd and offensive.” At his America Speaking Out town hall in California last week, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who chairs the initiative, heard from conservatives who celebrated Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio’s “inhumane” and “brutal” tent prisons as good policy.
As ThinkProgress previously noted, the GOP’s America Speaking Out website discourages “suggestions on amnesty or a path to legalization for illegal immigrants” but seems to welcome anti-immigrant rhetoric.