08/09/2013 02:33 pm ET

Buck McKeon: Terrorists May 'Mingle In' With Latinos To Cross Border


Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said at a town hall meeting this week that more border security is needed to keep terrorists from posing as Hispanic to enter the U.S. -- ironically while voicing support for legalizing undocumented immigrants.

"There are people that can’t tell the difference between a Hispanic person and an Arab person," he said in a video dated Aug. 7, flagged by Buzzfeed. "And if you get an Arab that's training, that's coming into this country to be a terrorist, they can mingle in, and they can get in here, and then they can do damage. So I would secure the border."

"I would come up with a program to make everybody here -- they say 11 million, we don't know how many people there are and we need to find out," he continued. "And one way to do it would be to make everybody legal, give them some kind of status to bring them into the system. And then we have to follow the system."

McKeon is considered a potential "yes" vote on comprehensive immigration reform and is one of 121 people the Senate "gang of eight" -- which drafted a bill that passed the upper chamber in June -- is asking groups to target.

His argument on border security, though, was evocative of immigration hardliner Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who no one expects to support comprehensive reform. Gohmert said on C-Span in April that some terrorists are posing as Hispanic to enter the country.

"We know Al Qaeda has camps over with the drug cartels on the other side of the Mexican border," Gohmert said in April. "We know that people that are now being trained to come in and act like Hispanic [sic] when they are radical Islamists. We know these things are happening. It is just insane not to protect ourselves, to make sure that people come in as most people do ... They want the freedoms we have."

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