Immigration

The GOP Picked The Worst Lawmaker Possible To Chair A Task Force On Immigration

CREDIT: AP Photo/Nati Harnik

Rep Steve King, R-Iowa, introduces presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, unseen, at a town hall event at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, Wednesday, April 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Republican lawmakers who are unhappy with the perceived “executive overreach” of the Obama administration are forming a new task force to find “legislative solutions” to challenge the president’s power — and they picked a telling lawmaker to lead the effort. Rep. Steve King (R-IA), a passionate anti-immigrant hardliner, will serve as chairman.

The task force will conduct hearings and investigations “relating to separation of powers and executive overreach issues,” according to the resolution approved on a voice vote on Wednesday. It’s unclear which of President Obama’s executive actions the task force will focus on, but immigration policies will probably feature prominently.

Ever since Obama took executive action in 2012 to grant temporary deportation relief to certain undocumented immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, House Republicans have accused him of executive overreach, holding several hearings on the matter. In a recent op-ed in USA Today, for instance, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) lamented that Obama “essentially stopped the enforcement of our immigration laws, provided quasi-legal status to unlawful immigrants.”

King’s choice as the chairman could prove troubling for the direction of the task force. The Iowa lawmaker has a particularly virulently vocal anti-immigrant history, a fact that may have contributed to him being passed over for ranking Republican committee spots in the past.

Here are just six examples that show King may not by suitable as the chairman.

1. That time King said to treat people that cross the border like “livestock.”

In 2006, King took to the House floor with a model of a concrete border fence for the U.S. border with Mexico. He said that the United States should electrify the wire with a current that couldn’t kill, but could hurt people. “It would simply be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it,” King said. “We do that with livestock all the time.”

2. That time King defended racial profiling as “common sense.”

After Arizona enacted an anti-immigration law in 2010 known as SB1070, which would allow law enforcement officials to racially profile suspected undocumented immigrants, King defended the policy. He said it was a “common sense thing” for law enforcement to use “indicators” like “what kind of clothes people wear, what kind of shoes people wear, what kind of accents they have, the type of grooming they might have… sometimes it’s just a sixth sense that they can’t put their fingers on.”

3. That time King compared immigrants to dogs.

During an event in 2012, King said that the United States should pick the best immigrants in much the same way that people choose the “pick of the litter” when it comes to choosing dogs.

“You want a good bird dog?” he said. “You want one that’s going to be aggressive? Pick the one that’s the friskiest … not the one that’s over there sleeping in the corner.”

He added, “You get the pick of the litter and you got yourself a pretty good bird dog. Well, we’ve got the pick of every donor civilization on the planet. We’ve got the vigor from the planet to come to America.”

4. That time King said that undocumented immigrants coming across the border have “cantaloupe calves” because they are “drug mules.”

During an interview with NewsMax in 2013, King claimed that in addition to undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as young children, there were also “drug mules” coming across the border with “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

5. That time King said Latinos come from a “violent civilization.”

During a Tea Party rally against immigration reform in 2013, King said that bringing “people from a violent civilization into a less-violent civilization” would beget “more violence.”

6. That time King said that he was just “as Hispanic and Latino” as a Latino congressman.

When United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro went on MSNBC last year to say that the Republican party would need Latino voters to win the election in 2016, King tweeted, “What does Julian Castro know? Does he know that I’m as Hispanic and Latino as he?”