SPARTANBURG, S.C. — South Carolina’s lieutenant governor said Friday that lazy residents who don’t want to take jobs harvesting the state’s crops are the root of its problems with illegal immigration.
Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer’s remarks came at the opening of a debate of Republican gubernatorial hopefuls. The candidates were asked about Arizona’s new tough illegal immigration law and whether South Carolina should do more to fight the problem.
“The real problem is the workforce,” Bauer said. State relief programs leave people unwilling to work the jobs in fields and orchards now filled with migrant workers, he said.
“The problem is we have a give-away system in this country and in this state that is so strong that people would rather sit home and do nothing than do these jobs. Laziness is not a disability,” Bauer said. “There are lot of people that are flat out lazy and they are using up the goods and services that we have in this state.”
Bauer has made a point throughout the race for the June 8 GOP nomination for governor of criticizing people who depend on the state for help. He drew criticism in January and made national headlines when he likened government assistance to the poor to feeding stray animals.
Bauer shared the stage Friday with U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, state Rep. Nikki Haley and Attorney General Henry McMaster.
McMaster and Haley said afterward that Bauer was wrong.
“I’m proud of the people of our state. I think we have enormous potential and you’ll never hear me criticize or complain about or be anything but proud of the people of this state,” McMaster said.