HOMESTEAD, FL - JULY 09: Donatila Diego, originally from Guatemala, (L) and Juana de Leon, originally from Guatemala, stand with others as they show their support for the Obama administration's immigration reform plan on July 9, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. The organizers held the protest the night before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is expected to consider lifting the injunction on the Obama administrations executive action to allow parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to gain temporary status in the U.S., as well as to expand the deferred action program for undocumented youth. (Photo : Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Conservative radio host Jan Mickelson thinks U.S. lawmakers are going about illegal immigration all wrong.
Instead of considering amnesty, or any form of legal residency, the Iowan suggests giving undocumented immigrants a two-month window to leave. If they don't, they become state property and are forced into manual labor.
"Put up a sign that says at the end of 60 days, if you are not here with our permission, can't prove your legal status, you become property of the state," Mickelson said in the August 17 edition of his radio show. "And then we start to extort or exploit or indenture your labor."
If Mickelson's idea sounds familiar it's because most people would consider this slavery. When a caller pointed out similarities, Mickelson said "Well, what's wrong with slavery?"
"Apparently we don't because when we allow millions of people to come into the country who aren't here legally and then people who are here are indentured to those people to pay their bills, their education of their kids, pay for their food, their food stamps, their medical bills, [in] some cases even subsidize their housing," Mickelson said.
Audio of Mickelson's broadcast was posted online by Media Matters.
Mickelson also suggested states' - in his case, Iowa - could use these "slaves" to build a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border, much like Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump would like to do if elected. He defended the proposal, calling it moral, legal, and politically doable.
As for where they would stay, Mickelson said tent villages - similar to the "Tent City Jail" created by Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arapaio - would be set up to offer undocumented immigrants minimal shelter and nutrition, all for "the opportunity to work for the benefit of the taxpayers of the state of Iowa."
While Mickelson insisted he was serious, he slightly backtracked a day later, claiming his point was philosophical and not literal, according to Media Matters. The initial plan was to scare undocumented immigrants, though Mickelson conceded that forcing a person or two into slavery would prove his point.
"I'm not looking to start another tobacco farm or plantation or cotton farm here in Iowa, I'm just looking to hold people accountable for their behavior."