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Wisconsin official likens immigrants to Satan, gets fired

By KRISTEN BUTLER, UPI.com
Wisconsin official likens immigrants to Satan, gets fired
This sticker for sale in Wisconsin started a Facebook fight among state lawmakers that led to Gov. Scott Walker firing his DOT appointee Steven Krieser. The sticker reads: "USA Illegal Immigrant Hunting Permit -- No Bag Limit -- Tagging Not Required." (Credit Wisconsin Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh)

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker fired one of his top appointees Thursday after he posted an anti-immigration rant on Facebook in which he referred to undocumented workers as "a stream of wretched criminals" he sees as "Satan."

It all started when Democratic state Rep. Gordon Hintz posted a photo of a sticker he found for sale in a local gas station which read, "USA Illegal Immigrant Hunting Permit -- No Bag Limit -- Tagging Not Required." Hintz expressed his shock at the sticker's sentiment, saying, "Can we not sell these stickers in 2013?"

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Former Republican Rep. Joe Handrick wrote, "About 2000 years ago there lived a man who, if he came here, would be considered a foreigner, had olive skin, and didn’t speak English. His name was Jesus."

A heated Facebook debate followed, and Steven Krieser, assistant deputy secretary at the state Department of Transportation, jumped in to write an astonishing anti-immigration rant and likened undocumented workers to Satan.

"The sticker is probably over the top, and while some people are undoubtedly motivated by racial animus, I think you err in insinuating that opposition to illegal immigration generally is driven primarily by racism," Krieser wrote.

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Calling undocumented workers a "stream of wretched criminals" crossing our borders unopposed, Krieser wrote that by "marching in the streets in broad daylight, demanding all the benefits of citizenship from a country whose laws they are breaking even as they are standing there. The illegals themselves have bred the animus that many American citizens feel toward them."

"You may see Jesus when you look at them," Krieser wrote, disagreeing with his fellow Republican. "I see Satan."

Less than two hours after his office was informed of Krieser's comment, Walker fired him. He had been paid $96,628 a year as the No. 3 official at DOT.

"These comments are repugnant, completely unacceptable, and have no place in Governor Walker's administration," said Walker spokesperson Tom Evenson. "Governor Walker condemns his views, and they do not represent the governor or his administration in any way."

In a reluctant apology, Krieser regretted his "poor choice of words," and said, "If I had it to do over, I would not have put it up. I certainly didn't mean any offense."

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