A Republican running for Congress in North Carolina previously compared deporting illegal immigrants to Nazi Germany, and said he was “not opposed” to fast-tracking citizenship for recipients of Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA), also known as “Dreamers.”
Pat Harrigan, a candidate running to represent North Carolina’s 10th Congressional District, made the comments in an Oct. 2022 interview with WFAE 90.7, a public radio station that services the Charlotte area, while a congressional candidate in a different district ahead of the midterm elections.
“There has to be a pathway to citizenship. Look, from my perspective, you look at countries that have rounded up and exported people from their country. It’s a list of countries that we don’t want to be involved with. It’s Russia. It’s North Korea. It’s China. It is Nazi Germany,” he said when asked about a “pathway to citizenship” for individuals in the U.S. illegally.
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Republican North Carolina congressional candidate Pat Harrigan. (Pat Harrigan, Getty Images)
“This horse has left the stables on this topic. And the vast, vast majority of immigrants that have come to this country are here because they’re trying to build a better life for themselves and for their families,” he said.
The interviewer then asked Harrigan about “Dreamers,” those brought to the U.S. as children of illegal immigrants, and whether there should be a process for them to gain citizenship more quickly.
“I think we need to look at exactly how we do that, but I’m not opposed to it. I do think it’s incredibly important that we have to gain control of the southern border and gain control of our immigration system first, prior to allowing any type of assimilation program on a widespread basis. Critically important that we do that one-two step,” he responded.
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The topic of immigration came up while Harrigan was being asked about former President Donald Trump, and whether he should run again for the White House in 2024.
Activists rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, June 15, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Harrigan dodged the question, saying he was “laser focused” on his midterm race, which he later lost. However, the interviewer pressed him, noting his expressed disagreement with Trump’s “personal behaviors,” but that he agreed with him on certain policy points.
“I certainly share President Trump’s perspective — at least a portion of his perspective — on our southern border. I absolutely believe our southern border is a very real and present danger for the national security of this country,” Harrigan responded, citing statistics concerning individuals suspected of terrorism infiltrating the U.S.
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Harrigan added that he “absolutely” believed the border needed to be secured, but that he diverged with Trump on the issue of labor.
“We have a massive labor crisis in this country right now. And quite frankly, we are wasting the best opportunity that we have had in the last 50 years to regenerate and regrow the American manufacturing capability, domestic manufacturing, because we don’t have any labor to support it. We have to have an ample flow of immigrants into this country,” he said.
Adolf Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany from 1933 until his suicide in 1945. During this time period he implemented the Final Solution to hunt down and exterminate Jewish people across Europe. (Getty Images )
“I’m very pro-immigration,” he added.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Harrigan said the “use of an oppobook by establishment politicians to attack … a decorated combat veteran” exposed their “fear” of his commitment to America-first policies.
“I understand the true cost of freedom and the need for strong national security. My stance is clear: secure our borders first, complete the wall, deport illegal aliens who have broken our laws, and reinstate Trump’s border policies before considering any pathway to citizenship,” he said.
“I will fight to rectify the border crisis caused by Biden and radical democrats, advocate for Trump’s policies and push for the impeachment of DHS Secretary Mayorkas for failing to protect our nation,” he added.
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Harrigan’s campaign also pointed Fox News Digital to an ad it released addressing the border crisis.
North Carolina’s 10th Congressional District is currently represented by Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry, who briefly served as speaker pro tempore following former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ouster in October. It is a deep-red district considered a safe seat for Republicans.
McHenry announced in December that he would not seek re-election.
Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.