A state legislator in Kansas has a simple solution to the problem of illegal immigration -- just shoot them. But now he says he was only joking.
During a meeting of the Kansas House Appropriations Committee on Monday, Rep. Virgil Peck said, "It looks like to me as if shooting these emigrating barrel hogs works, maybe we have found a solution to our illegal immigration problem."
It is apparently common practice in Kansas to control the feral hog population by shooting them from helicopters.
His idea was greeted with gasps from his fellow House members and then a prolonged silence.
The Republican said he was only joking, telling the Lawrence Journal World that he was "just speaking like a southeast Kansas person."
However, committee chairman Marc Rhoades chastised him, saying "I know that the preface to your question was an attempt at humor, but I would ask that in the future you refrain from comments that could be deemed inappropriate."
Peck said he does not expect any further fallout from his comment. "I think it's over," he said.
Not so fast.
"We are horrified by his remarks." said a national Hispanic GOP group called Somos Republicans. It said in a statement:
"If Representative Virgil Peck does not apologize for his extremist comments, he will wind up permanently on our unfriendly to Hispanics list for the rest of his life, and his Kansas legend will be one of bigotry."
Immigration is a major issue in Kansas, where lawmakers are considering bills similar to the controversial law in Arizona, where police can question anyone who they think could be an illegal alien.