‘Escalating Extreme Rhetoric:’ Arizona Senate Hopeful Wants to Send Immigrants to Pacific Islands for Hard Labor

Jim Lamon

Photo by Gage Skidmore/The Star News Network

By Jason Salzman

June 9, 2022

In an appearance on a conservative radio show, Arizona Senate candidate Jim Lamon proposed an unorthodox plan to deal with the immigrants who cross the US – Mexico border: Instead of deporting undocumented immigrants to Mexico or their home countries, or imprisoning them in the US, he wants to send them “out to the Pacific Ocean.” 

“You know, those islands that we spent blood and treasure securing back in World War II, a few of those out there,” Lamon told radio host Seth Leibsohn, of KKNT in Phoenix. “I think they need to go out and do about five years of hard time busting rocks out there, making them into gravel for their food. You know, just get them out of this country if they’re so bad they’ve illegally crossed and committed crimes.”

This, says Lamon, a wealthy solar energy executive, would stop undocumented immigrants from “coming right back again.”

Increasingly More Extreme

Lamon’s comment reflects the increasingly shrill rhetoric from Republicans on immigration issues, says Yvonne Gutierrez, the Managing Director of the Latino Victory Fund, a political action committee that backs progressive Latino candidates running for office.

“In a desperate attempt to become the Republican nominee, Jim Lamon has eagerly embraced racism and xenophobia,” said Gutierrez via email to the Copper Courier. “We continue to be deeply appalled and dismayed by Republicans’ escalating extreme rhetoric and vitriolic attacks on immigrants. Let’s be clear: The last thing we need in the 2022 midterm elections is a politician like Jim Lamon who would use his campaign to stoke fears about immigrants by bowing to anti-Latino and anti-immigrant rhetoric from the extreme right.” 

Lamon didn’t respond to a request for comment submitted via his campaign website, which contains more heated rhetoric about immigration. 

“This is an invasion – pure and simple,” Lamon’s campaign website states, adding that, if elected, Lamon will do “all in my power to shut down business in the US Senate” until his extreme anti-immigration agenda is achieved. This includes finishing the construction of the border wall, which was slowed by President Joe Biden.

Lamon will have to shut down the Senate for a long time, because a border wall, which was nowhere near complete after Trump’s presidency, would take many years build, if it could be done at all.

Immigrants Make Communities Safer

During the KKNT interview, Lamon referred to crimes being committed by immigrants.

Multiple studies show that both undocumented and documented immigrants make their communities safer, and they commit significantly less crime than native-born Americans.

“Immigrants are an important part of the fabric that makes Arizona stronger,” said Gutierrez. “The immigrant communities in Arizona and across the country should not be subject to hateful racist rhetoric.”

Lamon faces venture capitalist Blake Masters, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Mick McGuire, and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich in the Aug. 2 GOP primary.

The eventual Republican nominee will face Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in the November election. 

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