Politician Mistakes Campers for Migrant Children, Sees 'Fear on Their Faces'

By Chris Hoenig

Who knew summer campers live in constant fear

An Arizona congressional hopeful is trying to explain himself after he mistook a bus of campers for a bus of undocumented migrant children at a protest rally Tuesday, and told a reporter about the “fear on their faces.”

Adam Kwasman, a Republican state legislator, was taking part in the protest outside the Rite of Passage shelter, which houses undocumented children who cross into the U.S., when he saw the yellow school bus passing.

He immediately snapped a photo of the bus and sent it out with this message: “Bus coming in. This is not compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law.”

“I was actually able to see some of the children in the buses. The fear on their faces. … This is not compassion,” he told a local news reporter. “When you have a rule of law, and a secure border, and citizenship and an immigration and naturalization process that works, you don’t see this. This is a very sad, sad state of affairs we have right now.”

It was at that point that the local reporter had to break the news to Kwasman: The bus was full of schoolchildren headed to a local YMCA summer camp.

“They were sad, too,” Kwasman immediately responded.

“I apologize, I didn’t know. I was leaving when I saw them,” he explained. “People were not happy down the line.”

When asked if he should make assumptions about a charged issue without knowing the actual situation, Kwasman continued to defend himself. “I said I saw children,” he said. “Those were not migrant children, that’s fine. Listen, it was a mistake.”

Another reporter from the same station said the children on the bus were laughing and taking pictures of the media that had gathered at the site.

Kwasman is one of three Republicans running in the primary for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. The state, which has a Republican governor, Jan Brewer, and two Republican U.S. senators, is represented in the House by four Republicans and five Democrats—including 1st Congressional District incumbent Ann Kirkpatrick, who is seeking reelection.

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