DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa state senator and congressional candidate is being criticized by Republicans and Democrats after he said he supports executing immigrant felons who seek to re-enter the U.S. illegally after being deported.
The views of Republican Mark Chelgren were first reported by the Journal Express newspaper in Knoxville, Iowa. Chelgren is running for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District.
Reached by phone, Chelgren told The Associated Press on Tuesday that his comments came during a conversation about terrorism and border control. Chelgren stressed he was talking specifically about immigrants with felony convictions trying to re-enter the U.S. illegally.
Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Andy McGuire said the comments were “vile, hateful and downright deplorable.”
Iowa Republican Party spokesman Charlie Szold says the comments don’t “represent the values and the beliefs of Iowa Republicans.”