King’s Comments Reinforce Sentiment that Republicans Don’t Respect Latino Community

Rep. Steve King of Iowa has been one of the most outspoken in Congress against immigration reform.
Rep. Steve King of Iowa has been one of the most outspoken in Congress against immigration reform.

Steve King’s hateful remarks Tuesday to the right-wing web site NewsMax are being roundly denounced by Republican leaders in the House of Representatives, but Latino voters are not at all reassured that King is speaking only for himself. No amount of distancing by John Boehner and Eric Cantor are going to convince Latinos that King does not represent a broader antipathy to non-white immigrants.

According to a new poll taken shortly before Congressman King said that DREAM Act-eligible young people were drug mules with calves the size of cantaloupes, Latino voters said that hateful statements from people like King represented the attitudes of “many Republicans in Congress” by a margin of 66% to only 27% who thought these were the views of only a small minority of Republican legislators.

Some 67% said that Republicans did not respect the Latino community. Half of Latino voters said that the GOP promoted negative stereotypes of Latinos, and this was before King’s outrageous statement. Over the last 24 hours, anyone watching a Spanish-language television station or reading a Spanish-language newspaper is only having the attitude of the Republicans in the House of Representatives confirmed.

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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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