Former Vancouver Chamber of Commerce ambassador defends comments - KPTV - FOX 12

Former Vancouver Chamber of Commerce ambassador defends comments on illegal immigration

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VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -

A Vancouver man says he stands by what he wrote in several Facebook posts that have fueled the immigration debate even further online and prompted his ouster as an ambassador for the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce.

John Cozzi Jr. told FOX 12 Friday night that he has no regrets for any of the posts, though, adding that he is just expressing his views and it all falls under his first amendment rights.

Thursday night Cozzi commented on a Facebook post on the Clark County Citizens for Good Governance page with a response that many found offensive.

"ATF does not act without a warrant. They must have had something in order to obtain the warrant. Personally I think the way the law should be is simple. If you are an illegal immigrant and committed a crime and were deported by to your country and you are caught back in America illegally again, you should be shot on sight. This will slow down illegal immigrants from coming back illegally."

Cozzi believes it is his right to express himself how he pleases, and claims that people with a different political perspective are trying to infringe on his rights.

"I have the right to free speech,” he said. “The problem is as soon as you start talking about it, the liberals immediately jump on it and you don't have that right."

Cozzi said he wanted to spark a conversation about immigration but instead has been berated with insults on social media. He said he feels his comment was blown out of proportion adding he never wished death on anyone.

"I never said murder and kill," Cozzi said. "You know, I said, ‘Shoot. The best place is to shoot them in the (expletive) and they will remember it for life every time they sit down they will have to think about it."

Cozzi added that his brother was stabbed and killed in Chicago in the ‘90s by a person who had been deported from the U.S, and returned.

Cozzi had been selected as the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year in 2016. However, after uproar over his comments he is now no longer part of the organization.

In a statement posted on their Facebook page Friday, the chamber said it has cut ties with Cozzi, saying that his statements, “do not reflect the GVCC as an organization.”

Cozzi told FOX 12 he understands the decision.

"It was a business decision, no I don't blame them for it," he said. "I'm not even the one who mentioned the Chamber or the Boys Scouts. It was brought up by the people on the post."

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