A GOP congressman said Monday that some of the thousands of Central American minors crossing the U.S. border should not be described as “children,” but rather as “gang members” who bring a culture of violence into the country.
Rep. Rich Nugent (R-FL) made the comment during a a call-in session with Ocala radio station WOCA, which was first highlighted by Buzzfeed. Nugent responded to a caller’s question about the border crisis by arguing that “Republicans have a heart” and don’t want to treat children “inhumanely,” but added that the U.S. can’t afford for those migrants to remain in the country.
“A lot of these ‘children,’ quote-unquote, you know the first caller mentioned it — they’re gang members, they’re gang-affiliated,” Nugent said.
“Listen, if you’re 14, 15, 16, 17 years old and you’re coming from a country that’s gang infested, particularly with MS-13-types. That is the most aggressive of all the street gangs,” he continued. “When you have those types coming across the border, they’re not children at that point. These kids have been brought up in a culture of thievery. A culture of murder, of rape, all those types of things. And now we are going to infuse them into the American culture, it’s just ludicrous.”
Nugent’s comments about the undocumented minors echo Steve Kings’ infamous comparison between DREAMers, or immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, and drug mules.
“For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” King said last year.