Colorado state Rep. Mark Baisley’s (R-Roxborough Park) recent Facebook post about the number of immigrants crossing the nation’s southern border every month led a commenter to invoke a white nationalist conspiracy theory known as the “great replacement.”

In a reply agreeing with the comment, Baisley wrote,

“We have allowed the weeds to overwhelm the garden.”

The full exchange between commenter “Laurel Al-Meriki” and Baisely reads as follows:

Laurel Al-Meriki: “Mark we are being replaced- demographically, politically, economically, culturally and with the fentanyl physically.
Our people cry for redress of grievances. We cry for justice. There is only so much that we are able to suffer until the ties that bind are irrevocably broken. We live in a powder keg with our women and children held tight.”

Mark Baisley: “We have allowed the weeds to overwhelm the garden.
The remarkable founders of this nation gave us instructions for running the country, even when things go terribly wrong. Please read America’s founding document beginning with the words, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends…”

Reached via email Baisley denied any awareness of “replacement theory,” which Tucker Carlson recently resurfaced to a national outcry. Baisley claims that by “weeds” he meant “the weeds of socialism.”

“My post was to give the illegal immigration numbers a relatable perspective, says Baisley. “We hear ‘2,000 people per day.’ That amounts to ~60,000 per month, about the size of a familiar city. That many people arriving without a home, without advanced skills, without a job waiting for them — the impact on the nation must be tremendous.

“Mr. Al-Meriki and I are concerned that these are people responding to President Biden’s invitation of coming to America in droves in order to become dependent on government largess and vote for more of the same; the destructive culture of socialism. Neither of us mentioned race. You did that.”

Baisley may not be familiar with the “great replacement” theory, but he could not have summarized it more succinctly. And while he didn’t mention race, it’s hard to leave that component out of a discussion of “people crossing our southern border.”

The “weeds” reference is particularly concerning given its troubling history, such as in Michael Guyer’s 1916 book “Being Well-born: an Introduction to Eugenics,” which includes the following line:

“The human harvest like the grain harvest is based fundamentally on heritage. And to get a better crop of human beings, we must, as with other crops, weed out bad strains.” 

Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Executive Director Lisa Durán expressed great concern with Baisley’s statement.

“Tapping into people’s fear of being replaced or ‘minoritized’ in order to generate increased racism or xenophobia is a common tactic of white supremacists, but to see this rhetoric used by a legislator is beyond concerning,” says Durán. “The metaphor of human society as a garden with flowers and weeds has clear origins in the eugenics movement. The fact that Representative Baisley would use this metaphor, likening his own constituents to weeks which must be exterminated for the good of the garden, is sickening. 

Our legislators are responsible for representing the interests and rights of their constituents — that is, everyone living in their district. Rep. Baisley must either uphold that responsibility or else resign it and step down from his position.”

Castle Rock resident Nayda Benitez, who is a constituent of Baisley as well as the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition’s Southern Colorado Regional Organizer, also expressed disappointment with her state representative’s comment.

“I am an immigrant who has been living in Colorado for 20+ years and I now reside in Castle Rock, in Douglas County,” says Benitez. “To read that my state representative alludes to immigrants as weeds that are overwhelming a garden is extremely disappointing. It is a shame to hear misleading rhetoric from a legislator who is supposed to represent me and my local immigrant community. This is a part of why I do not always feel represented nor safe in Castle Rock. 

“Under the Trump administration, there was also consistent migration to the U.S.-Southern border. For decades, migration patterns have had an ebb and flow. Regardless of who is in office, people have the legal right to seek asylum at our border. The right to seek asylum is central to our immigrant justice system. I want to dissuade Rep. Baisley from sharing misinformed and incomplete rhetoric about immigrants and refugees in this country.”

Colorado People’s Action, a progressive advocacy organization focused on issues of Immigration, Climate and Economic & Racial Justice also weighed in, with Political & Organizing Director Rochelle Galindo offering the following statement:

“Like most Coloradans, people with the courage and tenacity to move for a better life, are doing their best to care for their families,” says Galindo. “Today, politicians like Mark Baisley hurt all of our families by continuing to allow corporate polluters to run business as usual, hurting low-income people of color through environmental racism, who call places like Commerce City home. Then they turn around and point the finger for the hard times they created at new Americans and detain and tear families apart. Keeping folks detained in the middle of a pandemic and leaving them vulnerable to outbreaks, like we have seen in our own backyard at the GEO detention facility in Aurora. 

“In a time when our state is still recovering from an ongoing pandemic, we have the opportunity to care for Colorado families, including those in Douglas and Teller County, by demanding wages that people can thrive on and eliminating the subminimum wage, a direct legacy of slavery.  If Baisley actually read the Constitution, he would know that it affords protections to all on U.S soil including those who just stepped foot today. They are included in our fight for a better future.”

Read Baisley’s full response below:

I have never heard of a “white nationalist conspiracy theory.” Race has nothing to do with my exchange with Mr. Al-Meriki — neither from me nor from him. Racism is an obsession with the LeftE Pluribus Unum is a goal of the Right. Democrats produced the KKK. Republicans produced the Emancipation Proclamation.

I agree with what I understood Mr. Al-Meriki’s statement to mean, that we patriots “are being replaced- demographically, politically, economically, culturally” by people with a socialist world view. In 2006, Republicans held the Governor’s office, the Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, the majority in the State House, the majority in the State Senate, and both US Senate seats. Over the past 15 years Americans have fled their failing states and come to liberty loving Colorado. But as these immigrants imposed their destructive voting habits, Colorado transformed from the place that voted in the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights to a state that placed recreational marijuana in its constitution.

Only the Left sees everything through the filter of racism. As evidence, please see this article I wrote for Townhall way back in 2012 on the topic of Leftist displacement in Colorado.

As far as my weeds comment — This is a metaphor that I use frequently as my version of Ronald Reagan’s famous quote, ““Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

We must treat America and, by extension, Colorado as the garden of liberty that we inherited from our Founders. If we do not tend to it, the weeds of socialism will take over.

Baisley isn’t the only Colorado elected official to promote, knowingly or not, the “great replacement theory;” Congresswoman Lauren Boebert promoted it recently as well.