Sery Kim, a Republican running for a North Texas congressional seat, said during a candidate forum that she doesn’t want immigrants from China coming to the United States.
“I don’t want them here at all,” she said Wednesday to some laughs and claps. “They steal our intellectual property. They give us coronavirus. They don’t hold themselves accountable. And quite frankly, I can say that because I’m Korean.”
Kim, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Seoul, South Korea, when she was a child, is vying to replace late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, who died in February after battles with lung cancer and COVID-19. Kim served in the U.S. Small Business Administration under former President Donald Trump and is one of 11 Republicans vying for the congressional seat.
There are 23 candidates running for the district that includes most of Arlington and Mansfield as well as all of Ellis and Navarro counties. Kim was joined by fellow Republicans Susan Wright, the wife of Ron Wright, and Mike Egan. The forum was hosted by the Republican Women of Arlington and the Arlington Republican Club.
In her opening remarks, Kim claimed that “we were lied to for the last one year and two months and stayed at home because China created the coronavirus in a Wuhan lab.” Later, she said that the priority for any member of Congress should be “to hold China accountable.”
“I am Asian American, and I have never felt discrimination because I blame China for the problems they have actually created, she said. “They are the ones that cause COVID. They are the ones that steal our technology. They are the ones that manipulate the border.”
Kim’s remarks, first reported by the Dallas Morning-News, come as hate crimes against Asians are on the rise. According to the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center, 3,795 hate incidents were reported to the group between March 19, 2020 and Feb. 28.
In an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Kim explained that she is against all illegal immigration, pointing out that her parents waited for 10 years before they legally immigrated to the U.S. She would support legal immigration to the U.S. for people fleeing the Communist Party of China.
“We need to ascertain as a country, as a priority, which people are fleeing prosecution from the Chinese Communist Party,” she said. “Which people are fleeing from … the communism that is North Korea. Which people are fleeing sex trafficking from the Northern Triangle.”
Asked about her remarks in the larger context of attacks against Asian Americans, Shery said “Asian American violence is not a new and novel thing just because the media is starting to report on it in the last month.” She also said she received derogatory comments containing threats and racial slurs following her remarks.