At a candidate forum last week, Georgia state Rep. John Yates (R) was asked for his recommendations on what to do about illegal immigration in Florida. Yates replied that troops on the border should be given “shoot to kill” orders and that flyers should be dropped in Mexico warning of the new immigration policy. “They ought to be armed and if warned leaflets dropped all over Mexico says that we will shoot to kill if anybody crosses and be serious about this and if they do that then there won’t be anybody killed [sic],” reasoned Yates.
In an interview with Atlanta’s Fox5, Yates stood by his comments:
Some have questioned Yates’ comments. When asked if he could see why people would be upset with his comments Yates, “No, I don’t think they’d be upset with what I’d say.”
Rep. Yates, a WWII veteran in office more than 20 years, represents parts of Douglas, Fayette and Spalding Counties.
“If they come over here, on these raids killing ranchers and everything, you got to stop them some way,” said Yates.
Yates likened illegal immigrants to enemies of the country.
“Stopping Hitler was worth the price,” Yates said. “It’s our border, they’re invading us.”
Watch Fox5’s report:
Jerry Gonzalez of Georgia’s Association of Latino Elected Officials’s has already voiced his concerns: “We’re concerned that this type of rhetoric, if it blows up is going to incite violence against our community.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) echoed Gonzalez’s statement. “We are seeing a frightening ratcheting up of hate speech about undocumented workers from Mexico, and John Yates has taken the rhetoric to a level of extremism that is shocking and deeply disturbing,” said Bill Nigut, the ADL’s southeast regional director. “Comparing Mexicans crossing the border illegally to Hitler’s army is grossly offensive to Jews and others who suffered the tragic consequences of the Nazi’s so-called ‘Final Solution.’”
Immigration has become a hot button issue in Georgia, particularly in the past few months. The issue is at the front and center of the state’s gubernatorial race, along with many other local elections. The state recently banned undocumented immigrants from attending most of the state’s most prestigious public universities and colleges. Georgia Republicans are already drafting an immigration law similar to the one recently passed by Arizona. Georgia is home to an estimated 480,000 undocumented immigrants.