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.