Iowa Rep. Steve King Faces Criticism After "Hateful" Immigrant Comment
SIOUX CITY, IA —
Iowa Congressman Steve King is facing some backlash after some questionable remarks on undocumented immigrants.
In an interview with conservative web site, Newsmax, Representative King expressed his opposition to President Obama's immigration reform, which would give amnesty to DREAMers, children brought to the U.S. illegally.
As the House debates immigration reform, Steve King is drawing criticism from both sides of the aisle over this interview with NewsMax:
"For everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds -- and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert... those people would be legalized with the same act," said Rep. King.
The bill in question would give legal status to undocumented young people through a quicker citizenship path.
After King's comments, democrats denounced him on the House floor, and even House Speaker John Boehner said that King's words were "hateful."
In a later interview with Radio Iowa, King stood by his comments and said he won't support amnesty for lawbreaking DREAMers.
"I agree, there are valedictorians in this group and my heart goes out to them, but not to the point where I sacrifice the rule of law and legalize a lot of bad elements in the process," says the congressman.
Advocates for undocumented immigrants say that Representative King's remarks are misleading and set back nationwide discussion on immigration reform.
"It's just an unfair characterization. If you want to talk about profiling and stereotyping, which is big in the news today, that's one way that the Hispanic community is very stereotyped and it's wrong. It's just not accurate," says Sioux City Immigration Attorney Priscilla E. Forsyth.
The one Democrat who's already running for King's seat in 2014, Jim Mowrer, agreed and says this type of leadership hurts Congress and its constituents.
"Once again, I think that they are misrepresentative of the feelings of Iowans and people in the fourth district. I think they're disrespectful. I don't think they do anything productive and this is the type of comments that Steve King continues to make that once again inhibit progress in Washington and finding real solutions for the problems that we have, including immigration," says Mowrer.
An estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants would be affected by the reform if Congress can reach a compromise.
Congress is set to continue their discussion of immigration reform this week, where House leaders hope to reach a bipartisan solution.