Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois likened asylum seekers to “critters” on Tuesday, suggesting a wall along the southern U.S. border is no different than a wall he would put around his house to keep out animals.
During an interview on MSNBC, host Katy Tur asked Kinzinger if politicians were having trouble ending the government shutdown because the rhetoric around immigration had become “ugly.”
“I think we have to look at all immigrants as human beings made in God’s image,” Kinzinger agreed. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a right to defend our territory and our borders and set an immigration policy for legal immigration.”
The lawmaker went on to argue that calling President Donald Trump’s immigration rhetoric “racist” is akin to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying a wall is immoral.
Tur had reminded Kinzinger that Trump says immigrants are “criminals and rapists and he says that everybody that comes across the border is going to try to hurt you or your family.”
“I mean, we look at that and go, ‘How is a wall immoral?'” the congressman opined. “I mean, I have four walls around my house and they keep bad people out and critters out.”
The connotation of “critter” is decidedly negative: Merriam-Webster offers the synonyms animal, beast, beastie, brute, and creature under its entry for the word.