GOP congressman spews anti-immigrant lies at debate


Scott Perry has no evidence to back up his claim that 'millions of people' enter America without documentation every year.

Dueling visions of America were on display at the recent debate between Republican Rep. Scott Perry and Democratic challenger George Scott.

Perry offered a Trump-like vision of an angry nation seeking to pit neighbor against neighbor based on where our ancestors came from.

Scott, a Lutheran minister, presented a compassionate vision of who we are as a country, seeking that which unites rather than that which divides us.

The starkest contrast came when the two discussed the issue of immigration. Perry, a member of the far-right Freedom Caucus, relied on made-up information to stir up xenophobic fears of immigrants.

Without any evidence, Perry claims "millions of people stream across the border every single year." Perry also defaulted to previously debunked talking points about human trafficking.

Perry's fear-mongering language about immigrants streaming over the border has no basis in reality. According to, undocumented immigration has been relatively stable for years.

"There's no official measure of how many people succeed in illegally crossing the border, but authorities use the number of apprehensions to gauge changes in illegal immigration," reports FactCheck. Based on that measure, there has been an 81 percent decline in undocumented immigrants coming into the U.S. between 2000 and 2017.

Like many Republicans, led by Trump, Perry is ginning up division and racial fear rather than talking about what unites America. And no wonder Perry doesn't want to talk about his actual plans around immigration.

Perry repeatedly defended Trump's cruel family separation policy. At one point, Perry even whined that children can only be held for 20 days.

Scott, on the other hand, told the debate audience that he wanted a compassionate border security policy. In stark contrast to Perry, Scott said, "the way to secure our borders is not to tear children away from families."

Perry's fringe ideas seem to be out of touch with Pennsylvania's newly drawn 10th Congressional District. While the Republican-leaning district backed both Trump and Romney, recent polls show Perry and Scott within 1 point of each other.

And if fundraising is a gauge for enthusiasm, Scott is in good position in the final weeks of the campaign. In the most recent fundraising quarter, Scott brought in more than $900,000 compared to only $330,000 by Perry.

"These numbers are telling about where the momentum is," said Jason O’Malley, Scott's campaign manager.