In a summer of fear-mongering, race-baiting, and conspiracy-spawning, conservative hysteria about illegal immigrants appears to have reached new extremes. Last night, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) unloaded on CNN about an alleged plot to send pregnant women across the border to give birth to “terror babies.” But the GOP fringe isn’t just talking about the problems borne by immigrants. They’re also talking solutions. Like the proposal by Florida GOP state rep. candidate Marg Baker to round up illegal immigrants and put them in detention camps before deporting them.
Via Matt Yglesias, here’s a clip of Baker explaining her proposal, in which she advises that the state “follow what happened back in the 40s or 50s” and “buil[d] camps for the people that snuck into the country”:
As Yglesias points out, it’s unclear exactly what Baker’s talking about in terms of her historical analogy. The closest thing that really comes to mind are the Japanese internment camps during World War II, which was perhaps the last time that the US government rounded up the suspicious foreigners among us en masse.
Regardless, the Republican hopeful has plenty more to say about why the government “collect[ing] enough illegal aliens until you have enough to ship them back.” Illegal immigrants “should not mingle among the people,” Baker told the St. Petersberg Times. “Who knows what diseases they are carrying or if they are criminals? They snuck in here and are walking among us.”
The national GOP has certainly been fanning the flames of such nativist extremism by putting “anchor babies” in the spotlight. But the reactionary surge has also been enabled by the Obama administration’s own immigration hawkishness, as Adam Serwer argues. By focusing almost exclusively on measures like the border security bill—which the president is set to sign today—Obama has tried to appease the anti-immigration crowd. Instead, such an approach has merely encouraged such sentiments to flourish.