An Arizona state lawmaker faces backlash after claiming immigration represents an “existential threat” to the United States, in part because “there aren’t enough white kids.”
Rep. David Stringer, a Republican from Prescott, railed against the changing demographics in his state on Monday at a Yavapai County Republican Men’s Forum event.
“Sixty percent of public school children in the state of Arizona today are minorities,” Stringer told the crowd. “That complicates racial integration because there aren’t enough white kids to go around.”
Calling immigration “politically destabilizing,” Stringer lamented that minority students will grow up to “change the demographic voting base of this state.”
“Immigration today represents an existential threat to the United States,” he said. “If we don’t do something about immigration very, very soon, the demographics of our country will be irrevocably changed and we will be a very different country. It will not be the country you were born into.”
Stringer’s comments began making headlines on Wednesday after David Schapira, a Democratic candidate for Arizona’s superintendent of public instruction, posted a video of them online.
An AZ legislator made these overtly racist comments about our students. It's time to remove xenophobic radicals from elected office this November! We deserve leaders who understand we're a nation of immigrants who bring a diversity of experiences & ideas. https://t.co/P5I9QpUHDIpic.twitter.com/NSrJS2WZA3
— David Schapira (@dschapira) June 13, 2018
Carlos Galindo-Elvira, regional director of Anti-Defamation League Arizona, called Stringer’s remarks “shockingly inappropriate.”
“We are deeply disturbed after viewing the video and hearing comments made by Rep. David Stringer regarding minorities and immigrants,” Galindo-Elvira said in a statement on Wednesday.
“There’s no place in our state government for this type of hateful messaging especially when we are a nation of immigrants; it is shockingly inappropriate,” he said. “Rep. Stringer totally disregards the numerous contributions made by immigrants for our country.”
Stringer, who is running for re-election this year, did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment.
In a statement to The Arizona Republic, Arizona House Minority Leader Rebecca Rios (D) called Stringer’s comments “another source of national embarrassment for our state.”
“Just as disturbing, there did not appear to be single murmur of disagreement from the audience,” Rio said. “We work side by side with Rep. Stringer and our Republican colleagues and want to think the best of them. But when will they stand up to divisive rhetoric like this that echoes fervent racists and white nationalists like David Duke?”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.