Our VoiceCulture

Guess Who Believes Undocumented Immigrants Deserve the Death Penalty

Aaron Patrick Flanagan • Aug 16, 2011

photo by Quim Gil via Creative Commons

Quiz time. Who said this:

“I’m a hawk on this, but that’s how much I value America. I know that is a very drastic stand, but let me put it this way: I expect illegal invasion of our country by foreign entities to be met with deadly force. That’s how I expect to see my country protected.”

Was is it someone from the John Tanton Network of anti-immigrant groups, perhaps? Was it FAIR’s feedback squelching megaphone, Dan Stein? Nope. Was it IRLI’s golden boy, Kris Kobach? Wrong again.

Ok, here’s a clue. This same person also said that undocumented immigrants should be “shot at the border,” and that “If they value their lives, they would leave.”

Mark Krikorian of CIS? Good guess, but no.

These cavities of violent rhetoric were recently spewed by Loren Nichols, who is running for city council in Kennewick, WA. In past posts, our writers have often warned of the social space that is being carved by the more visible figureheads of the anti-immigrant movement, like those from the Tanton Network mentioned above—the kind that is carved explicitly so coded bigotry may flourish. This brand of social space, incidentally, parallels the kind that banner-waving Islamophobes Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer regularly spit, i.e. the sort of social space that Anders Behring Breivik emerged from clothed in police garb and tragedy, wielding an arsenal of deadly weaponry.

And while Nichols has no direct connection to any of those mentioned above, it must be said that those above are steering the social and political machines that are everyday attempting to pull our cultures deeper and deeper into xenophobia, racial bigotry, and Islamophobia. Why else would a city council candidate, who’s not yet officially on the ballot, feel so comfortable outlining his platform to save a town that’s 84% white and only 16% Hispanic or Latino, a town which calls Yingge and Taoyuan, Taiwan, it’s sister cities?

Did I mention it’s also “The Slurpee Capitol of the World?”

Hardly a town trapped in the throes of the failed, racist “Drug War.” But, don’t worry, as Nichols says, “”This is an issue that doesn’t deal with race so I hope it’s not interpreted that way. It has to do with violation of our country.”

Nichols’ logic becomes even more twisted and faulty when he adds that “I’m not promoting killing anyone.” When a reporter from the local CBS affiliate, KEPR, asked him if he was in favor of immigrants receiving the death penalty simply for being discovered as undocumented, though, Nichols callously quipped, “Correct.”

Wait, what?

Anyway, Nichols really wants us all to realize that “A lot of the attention is on the illegal immigration agenda, but I am not a one-dimension candidate. I am also concerned about the city having too many high-dollar projects going on at the same time.” This is more sound logic because obviously it costs taxpayers absolutely nothing to execute a prisoner. Oh yeah, that’s right, the costs of death penalty cases passed on to taxpayers are “38% greater than the total costs of life without parole convictions.”


Clearly, Loren Nichols is nothing more than an extremely confused bigot who knows just as much about public policy and the impacts of enacting it as this writer knows about the topography of Pluto. Nevertheless, we must recognize that the likes of John Tanton, Dan Stein, Kris Kobach, and Mark Krikorian are working hard, day-in-and-day-out, to make America a safe place to espouse bigotry.

The likes of Loren Nichols are just the sort they want serving on our city councils, so that when the Tanton Network rolls into our towns peddling their anti-immigrant local-level bills and ordinances – a rack of extremely expensive nearly wholesale failures – they can bleed us for hundreds of thousands of dollars – just like they’ve done in Arizona, Texas, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere.

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