A recreational boat salesman running as a Republican Senate candidate in Texas has spent the past few days defending his insistence on referring to Hispanics as “wetbacks” and calling for deadly force against some undocumented immigrants.
During an editorial board meeting with the Dallas Morning News last Friday, Tea Party candidate Chris Mapp allegedly said that “ranchers should be allowed to shoot on sight anyone illegally crossing the border on to their land and referred to such people as ‘wetbacks.’” In defending the statement to the San Antonio Express-News on the same day, Mapp explained that using the derogatory term “wetback” is as “normal as breathing air in South Texas.”
Mapp also said that the Dallas Morning News editorial board had not included all of his statements, saying to the San Antonio Express-News, “We can’t have illegal immigrants, drug cartels, human traffickers or terrorists coming across our border. Our borders can either be sealed by choice or force, and so far choice hasn’t worked.” On Sunday, Mapp again condoned the use of deadly force against undocumented immigrants if “the sight of a weapon” isn’t enough to make them go back to their country of origin in a lengthy public Facebook post.
I would never advocate the use of deadly force unless in fear for your life or family … Force means by use of a means of detouring to turn around and go back where you came from or to not want to trespass in the first place. If you are confronted and choose not to turn around then you might run the risk of being forced physically to do so. If a verbal command or the sight of a weapon will not persuade you then you might suffer the consequences of a bad decision. (I never said shot, did I?).
Mapp continued his criticism of both papers in his Facebook post, saying that they had “twisted and distorted my interview” and even slammed the Dallas Morning News as “a very liberal paper.” The Dallas Morning News endorsed Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) for the current Senate primary race and Mitt Romney (R) for the 2012 presidential campaign.
In another Facebook post Sunday, Mapp said that his personal interaction with three immigrants with varying degrees of legal status made him realize just “how broken the immigration system really was.” Namely, he said that undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children “have become a part of our country. They are productive hard working people with families of their own.” But on Tuesday, Mapp defended the use of the derogatory slur, saying that “it is a common term in south Texas and truth is maybe we have been so conditioned to use correct terms and to be nice that this will eventually lead to everyone being called ‘Friend.’”
Both Cornyn and Robert Stovall, the chairman of the Bexar County Republican Party condemned Mapp’s comments last Friday. Stovall said to the San Antonio Express- News that Mapp’s views “are in no way a reflection of the Republican Party nationally, statewide or in Bexar County.” Still, Mapp is just one of many Republican Senate candidates who have recently touted plans to “fix” the broken immigration system in the harshest way possible. Ken Cope, another Texas Senate hopeful, said that once a border fence is completed, he would deport “all incarcerated illegal aliens and those with prior convictions.” The Dallas Morning News also reported that Cope would “deport anyone who fails to learn English.” And in Georgia, Rep. Paul Broun (R) said during a Senate primary debate that “the only new law I’d like to see passed is one that makes English the official language of America.”
Five days after Mapp faced intense scrutiny for defending the use of an anti-Latino derogatory slur, a Facebook post published Wednesday morning stated that Mapp had “spoken to many of his Hispanic friends and family about the terminology he has used” and that he does not “advocate bodily harm or abuse or injustice to any human being.” The Facebook post also stated that Mapp “has many close relationships with people from all races and walks of life.”