Steve King Is At It Again

Rep Steve King of Iowa has long been an opponent of comprehensive immigration reform.
Rep Steve King of Iowa has long been an opponent of comprehensive immigration reform.

Steve King got big headlines and widespread condemnation recently when he described DREAMers as drug mules.

After House Speaker John Boehner derided King’s statement, many pundits expected the Iowa conservative to lay low. Instead, he went back on TV a day later to reiterate his charge. Then this past Sunday, when Latina Republican strategist Ana Navarro criticized King on Meet the Press, he questioned whether she “understood the language.”

King’s racist characterizations of Latinos might seem embarrassing to his party, but it is good to recall that just two months ago, nearly all House Republicans voted for his proposal to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that halts the deportation of DREAMers. Far from making him an outcast, King’s radicalism has won support from the Tea Party wing and those Republican politicians who live in fear of them.

King’s popularity on the Right is so high now that he has launched a national “Stop Amnesty” tour that is bringing his message to Republican swing districts around the country. On the tour, he insists that Latinos are culturally violent people. He told an audience in Virginia: “If you bring people from a violent civilization into a less-violent civilization, you’re going to have more violence right? It’s like pouring hot water into cold water, does it raise the temperature or not?”

Steve King’s supporters want to make him the face of Republican opposition to immigration reform. Unless the House leadership passes immigration reform, King will be seen as the true immigration leader in Congress.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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