On Tuesday, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) rejected bipartisan criticism and again condemned young undocumented immigrants as “drug mules” in a radio interview with O.Kay Hunderson. Notably, he said that for every so-called DREAMer who is a valedictorian, there are “one hundred drug mules” and “you can tell by their physical characteristics what they’ve been doing for months.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called King’s remarks “hateful language.” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) “strongly disagreed” with King’s comments “inexcusable.” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) also criticized King on Wednesday morning on MSNBC saying,”that’s not a path that we should be going down.”
Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL) criticized King for his remarks during House hearings on Wednesday morning. But King responded, [Garcia] “didn’t suggest that there are more valedictorians than there are drug mules, but it’s enough for anybody to be offended these days. They apparently don’t have to use their brain.”
Last month, he called a peaceful DREAMer sit-in demonstration at his District of Columbia office an “invasion.” He also suggested the U.S. to electrify its border fence because “we do that with livestock all the time.” And in recent memory, King drafted and helped to pass an amendment that would end the deportation ban on DREAMers.
In the past, King defended racial profiling through Arizona’s anti-immigration SB 1070 law, saying, “if you can’t profile someone, you can’t use those common sense indicators that are before your very eyes.” He also said that Arizona law enforcement would do well to target undocumented immigrants based on “the type of grooming” and “shoes” they wear. The U.S. Supreme Court pared down part of Arizona’s SB1070 law because of its racially divisive elements.
Although King is a heavy critic, the majority of the American people support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Moreso, House Republicans Eric Cantor and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) are pushing the Kids Act, which is similar to the DREAM Act in that they both provide a pathway to citizenship. House Republican leadership see the Kids Act as the path of least resistance, but the approach would leave out at least nine million undocumented immigrants who wouldn’t qualify.