Georgia's Republican State Rep. John Yates has a position on immigration that almost nobody would agree with: he wants US border agents empowered to "shoot to kill."
Asked to justify his position, Yates recently told a reporter in Atlanta that illegal immigrants are enemies of America who must be dealt with severely.
"Stopping Hitler was worth the price," the 89-year-old lawmaker said.
Speaking at a Georgia candidate forum last week, a moderator asked for ideas on dealing with illegal immigration in Georgia. The state shares borders with Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and the Carolinas.
Yates began by saying he favors a tax on money sent from Georgia to Mexico, being that many undocumented residents do not pay an income tax.
Then, the World War II veteran kicked it up a notch or two.
"[The National Guard] ought to be armed and, if warned by leaflets dropped all over Mexico that 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," Yates said.
His opponent, Rose Carroll, a military spouse and former real estate broker, had a dramatically different answer, saying the issue of immigration demanded "compassion," reminding Yates that many of the people he'd compared to Hitler are women and children.
"Instead of advocating taking up indiscriminate 'shoot to kill' policies or giving Georgians the unfair burden of shouldering huge expenses to fund enforcement of federal laws, I believe Georgia should work to remove the incentives driving illegal immigration," she explained on her web site. " I support tougher actions against businesses illegally employing those who are not authorized to work in this country, and encouraging our businesses to use existing resources such as E-Verify to level the playing field and make sure all businesses and employees have a fair shot at doing business."
Asked to explain his "shoot to kill" remark, Yates told MyFox Atlanta that any invading force should be treated with the utmost hostility.
"Stopping Hitler was worth the price," he said. "It's our border, they're invading us."
Bill Nigut, Southeast Regional Director of Anti-Defamation League, called Yates's statements "shocking and deeply disturbing" in a media advisory.
"The hate speech about undocumented workers has moved from the extreme edges of the debate into the mainstream," he wrote. "The fact that an elected official of the Georgia General Assembly would feel comfortable about making such outrageous remarks proves that point."
Both Yates and Carroll are running to represent Georgia's 73rd state house district.
This video is from a Georgia candidates forum, published to YouTube on Oct. 12, 2010.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/m5oXVu5VfA8?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]
This video is from MyFox Atlanta, published Oct. 15, 2010.