Gabriela Mercer, the likely Republican congressional candidate in Arizona's new 3rd District, once declared that the only goal of Middle Easterners crossing America's southern border was to "cause harm to the United States."

"I don't have the numbers -- I remember taking notes, but if I remember correctly, it was 25,000 that they were able to apprehend, other than Mexicans," Mercer said in an interview with the conservative website Western Free Press.

"That includes Chinese, other Middle Easterners. If you know Middle Easterners, a lot of them, they look Mexican or they look like a lot of people in South America: dark skin, dark hair, brown eyes. And they mix, they mix in. And those people, their only goal in life is to cause harm to the United States. So why do we want them here, either legally or illegally? When they come across the border -- besides the trash that they leave behind, the drug smugglings, the killings, the beheadings -- you are seeing stuff: it's a war out there."

Later in the interview, Mercer, a Tea Party favorite who seems poised to win the right to challenge Rep. Raul Grijalva this November, discussed the damage that illegal immigration was causing to "the habitat."

"Some of the groups that are out there talking about destruction of the habitat, the trash that is left behind in private property. They have found prayer rugs, they have found copies of the Koran. So that tells you this is not just poor illegals that are trying to come to this country and find work," she said. "It is bigger than that."

The interview took place in June 2011, and has been unearthed and circulated by Grijalva's campaign, conveniently timed to the day of Arizona's primary elections. Mercer, who legally immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico in 1986, is expected to win.

HERE IS THE GRIJALVA CAMPAIGN VIDEO:

HERE IS THE FULL WESTERN FREE PRESS VIDEO (relevant part starts at 8:00):

Mercer isn't the only lawmaker to propound the theory that radical Muslim extremists are taking advantage of America's immigration laws to inflict harm. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) once called illegal immigration a "slow-motion terrorist attack." Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) has insisted that terrorists come to America to have babies so they can be born as U.S. citizens.

Mercer would put a Hispanic face on the far-fetched theory. It's unclear whether publicizing Mercer's comments will help or hurt her campaign.

Mercer's campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • '2nd Amendment Remedies'

    During Nevada's 2010 Senate election, an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/16/sharron-angle-floated-2nd_n_614003.html" target="_hplink">audio clip</a> surfaced of Sharron Angle <a href="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/sharron_angle_floated_possibil.html" target="_hplink">raising</a> "Second Amendment remedies" as a viable solution to take when "government becomes out of control." The Tea Party-backed hopeful ultimately proved unsuccessful in her campaign to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

  • 'I Do Not Wear High Heels'

    Ken Buck, a Tea Party-backed contender who ultimately fell short in his bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado, made headlines in 2010 when he <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/21/ken-buck-vote-for-me-beca_n_654990.html" target="_hplink">quipped</a> that people should vote for him "because I do not wear high heels."

  • 'I Am Not A Witch'

    Christine O'Donnell <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/04/christine-odonnell-witch-ad_n_750140.html" target="_hplink">captured headlines</a> in 2010 with a now-infamous campaign ad in which she tells voters, "I'm not a witch." She says, "I'm nothing you've heard. I'm you." O'Donnell was defeated in her campaign for Senate in Delaware by Democratic Sen. Chris Coons.

  • Scientists For Creationism?

    Rep. Michele Bachmann <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Damah0KH-Co&feature=player_embedded" target="_hplink">said</a> in October of 2006, "There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design."

  • Democrats = Communists?

    HuffPost's Jen Bendery <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/allen-west-democrats-communist-party_n_1417279.html" target="_hplink">reported</a> in April of this year: <blockquote>As many as 80 House Democrats are communists, according to Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.). West warned constituents at a Tuesday town hall event that he's "heard" that dozens of his Democratic colleagues in the House are members of the Communist Party, the <em>Palm Beach Post</em> <a href=" http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/allen-west-hears-cheers-jeers-at-town-hall-2295766.html?cxtype=rss_news" target="_hplink">reported</a>. There are currently 190 House Democrats. West spokeswoman Angela Melvin later defended West's comments -- and clarified to whom West was referring. "The Congressman was referring to the 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The Communist Party has publicly referred to the Progressive Caucus as its allies. The Progressive Caucus speaks for itself. These individuals certainly aren't proponents of free markets or individual economic freedom," Melvin said in a statement to The Huffington Post.

  • Welfare Prison Dorms?

    The AP <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/22/carl-paladino-backs-welfa_n_690284.html" target="_hplink">reported</a> in August of 2010 on then-New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino: <blockquote>Throughout his campaign, Paladino has criticized New York's rich menu of social service benefits, which he says encourages [undocumented] immigrants and needy people to live in the state. He has promised a 20 percent reduction in the state budget and a 10 percent income tax cut if elected. Asked at the meeting how he would achieve those savings, Paladino laid out several plans that included converting underused state prisons into centers that would house welfare recipients. There, they would do work for the state - "military service, in some cases park service, in other cases public works service," he said - while prison guards would be retrained to work as counselors. "Instead of handing out the welfare checks, we'll teach people how to earn their check. We'll teach them personal hygiene ... the personal things they don't get when they come from dysfunctional homes," Paladino said. ... Paladino told The Associated Press the dormitory living would be voluntary, not mandatory, and would give welfare recipients an opportunity to take public, state-sponsored jobs far from home. "These are beautiful properties with basketball courts, bathroom facilities, toilet facilities. Many young people would love to get the hell out of cities," Paladino he said. He also defended his hygiene remarks, saying he had trained inner-city troops in the Army and knows their needs. "You have to teach them basic things - taking care of themselves, physical fitness. In their dysfunctional environment, they never learned these things," he said.</blockquote>