On Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the Boston Marathon bombing that left three dead and more than 150 injured, King gave an interview to National Review Online where he used the attack to justify his opposition to immigration reform.
From the interview:
Representative Steve King of Iowa, a prominent House conservative, says Congress should be cautious about rushing immigration reform, especially after Monday’s bombing in Boston, where three people were killed.
“Some of the speculation that has come out is that yes, it was a foreign national and, speculating here, that it was potentially a person on a student visa,” King says. “If that’s the case, then we need to take a look at the big picture.”
On immigration, King says national security should be the focus now, and any talk about a path to legalization should be put on hold. “We need to be ever vigilant,” he says. “We need to go far deeper into our border crossings. . . .We need to take a look at the visa-waiver program and wonder what we’re doing. If we can’t background check people that are coming from Saudi Arabia, how do we think we are going to background check the 11 to 20 million people that are here from who knows where.”
To be clear, investigators still do not know who perpetrated the attack. The “speculation” King is referring to involves an apparent case of racial profiling, whereby a college student of Saudi nationality was tackled by bystanders because he was fleeing the blast. He “appears to have no connection to the case,” according to the Christian Science Monitor.
The five-term Iowa congressman has a long history of bombastically opposing immigration reform. He has compared immigrants to dogs and proposed an electric border fence to keep them out. He thinks hospitals should ask patients their immigration status before providing care, and even asked a publicly questioned a veteran in a congressional hearing about his immigration status. He’s also promised to sue the Obama administration over its deferred action directive to protect undocumented youth and has said undocumented immigrants will use voter fraud to take over America.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) criticized the idea of linking Monday’s tragedy and the immigration debate. “We should really be very cautious about using language that links these two things in any way,” Rubio said Tuesday. “We don’t know who carried it out or why they carried it out, and I would caution everyone to be very careful about linking the two.”