Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 8, 2016

Steve King Defends DREAMer Comments Condemned by Boehner, Cantor

Updated 11:07 p.m. | Rep. Steve King is defending his comments that children who were brought to the U.S. illegally don’t deserve “amnesty” because they’re not “all valedictorians” despite a firestorm of criticism from Republican leaders and Democrats.

Speaker John A. Boehner called the comments “wrong” and his language “hateful.” Majority Leader Eric Cantor called them “inexcusable.” Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., called the remarks “reprehensible.” And Florida Democrat Joe Garcia said they were “beneath the dignity” of a member of Congress.

The Iowa Republican told the conservative website NewsMax last week that he is sympathetic to the situation in which many undocumented children find themselves. But he said those so-called DREAMers are not all created equal.

“Some of them are valedictorians — and their parents brought them in. It wasn’t their fault. It’s true in some cases, but they aren’t all valedictorians. They weren’t all brought in by their parents.

“For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. Those people would be legalized with the same act.”

King said until there is some way to tell the difference between the “innocent ones” and those who have been “undermining our culture and civilization and profiting from criminal acts,” no one should advocate for “amnesty.”

King himself appeared unbowed amid criticism late Tuesday, telling Radio Iowa that he got the physical description “essentially” from the Border Patrol:

“It’s not something that I’m making up. This is real. We have people that are mules, that are drug mules, that are hauling drugs across the border and you can tell by their physical characteristics what they’ve been doing for months, going through the desert with 75 pounds of drugs on their back and if those who advocate for the DREAM Act, if they choose to characterize this about valedictorians, I gave them a different image that we need to be thinking about because we just simply can’t be passing legislation looking only at one component of what would be millions of people.”

Boehner sharply criticized King in a statement. “What he said is wrong,” the Ohio Republican said. “There can be honest disagreements about policy without using hateful language.  Everyone needs to remember that.”

Cantor also slammed the remarks. “I strongly disagree with his characterization of the children of immigrants and find the comments inexcusable,” the Virginia Republican said in a statement.

During a Tuesday House Judiciary hearing on finding a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrant children, Garcia denounced King’s comments while the Iowa Republican, a fellow panel member, sat in the room.

“When members of this committee, when members of this House, use inflammatory language, use offensive language, it does not help the process,” Garcia said, using King’s words to Newsmax as an example of rhetoric “beneath the dignity” of Congress. However, Garcia did not explicitly attribute the rhetoric to King himself.

After Garcia finished with his opening statement, King was called upon next for his opening remarks. But he did not show signs of taking offense, nor did he offer any explanation for his comments.

Instead, he spoke broadly against any effort to change the country’s immigration system while Democrats controlled Washington and “amnesty” was on the table.

“I think what’s on course here … is we’ll just move this little sliver here because this one tugs at our heart,” King said. “It tugs at my heart, too. But … we have to uphold the rule of law.”

After the hearing, Gowdy, who chairs the Immigration and Border Security subcommittee, called King’s comments to Newsmax “reprehensible.”

Gowdy also took offense at King’s criticism during the hearing of the South Carolinian’s own comments about needing a permanent immigration law solution.

“Did you hear his five minutes?” Gowdy asked a scrum of reporters about King’s statement.  “He took one line from my opening statement about a remedy that lasts a lifetime and lectures me about the rule of law.  I was a prosecutor for 15 years.”

When asked how Republicans, particularly those in leadership, can reach out to members like King and implore them to keep inflamatory rhetoric at bay, Gowdy said flatly, “You can’t.”
And while King has said he has the muscle to sink any piecemeal immigration bill, Gowdy scoffed.
“The number of people who have a Steve King precise ideology on immigration isn’t going to be sufficient to sink anything.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, tweeted his disapproval as well: “Such inflammatory and hateful comments are out of touch with reality and do nothing to fix our broken system.”
At the hearing, King was the lone voice against giving legal status to undocumented young immigrants, and he was held up by Democrats as an example of how his party is starting to leave him behind.”Look how far we’ve come in such a short time,” said Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill.The DREAM Act, which was incorporated into the Senate-passed immigration bill, would give many illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children legal status and an accelerated path to citizenship.
Steven T. Dennis and Emily Pierce contributed to this report.
  • No Mass Amnesty

    Steve King is CORRECT. The “DreamKids” aren’t ALL valedictorians. Some of them ARE drug mules. Some of them ARE gang members. Some of them ARE drunk drivers and even rapists.

    Therefore, a blanket “amnesty” for quote “illegal immigrants who were brought here as children” is a BAD idea.

    What is so WRONG with that opinion?

    Wow, I’m quickly losing my respect for Trey Gowdy. I thought he was a fresh voice of reason. Now I fear he’s just another grandstanding politician interested first and foremost in promoting his own career.

    • DemDisaster

      Good point. They ought to at least put in this law that if you have a criminal record, you can’t become a U.S. citizen for X number of years, and you don’t commit anymore crimes. However, I think the exception should be made for sex offenders that they never are given citizenship. Who is going to argue against that?

      • BeverlyNC

        Punishing people for their ethnicity is really what Republican bigotry is all about. Whites are now the minority in America so hateful and disrespectful comments like that of Rep King are why Republicans will never win another race for decades.

        • Reality Check

          The Senate Bill admits that some of them are gang members — there’s a special provision just FOR gang members in the country illegally. All they have to do is submit a form claiming that they’ve eliminated their affiliations with the gang and they become U.S. citizens.

          I wish I were making this up.

          • No Mass Amnesty

            You can also have two DUI’s and/or forge two passports, and Senate Bill S.744 still allows you to “legalize” and get on a path to citizenship.

    • BeverlyNC

      You are the reason the Republican Party is dying. White people are now the minority in America and bigotry and prejudice towards non-whites you assume are all “takers” is what will finally end this extremist Republican Party so full of hate, fear-mongering, lies, and racism.
      You have definitely lost the Hispanic vote and will continue to lose in landslide elections as you continue to insult and degrade all those you feel are beneath you. Maybe you should look in the mirror as to the destroyer of our nation’s progress and future.
      I am sure your child was no “valedictorian” or even if they ever graduated from high school.

      • No Mass Amnesty

        I hope the Republican Party DOES die.

        It should be replaced with a party that truly believes in smaller, transparent government, a flat tax, eliminating the IRS and the Dept of Education, eliminating welfare fraud and abuse, and punishing illegal immigration and visa fraud.

        And LOL at your personal attacks on my child. You’re a typical hypocritical “liberal” hatemonger. People like you are exactly why I no longer call myself a Democrat.

  • RazzBarry1

    I wish Americans had elected officials who cared as much for us as they do illegal immigrants. All three branches of our government, as well as our clergy, have given us the middle finger over this issue. These people think it more important to reward the children of those who broke our laws, than it is to keep the, “one time only”, amnesty promise of Reagan.
    I don’t care if these children are all valedictorians. They should take the education their families stole from the US taxpayers and go home to improve their home countries.
    The advocates for these people want us to believe that many of them don’t even speak the language of their home country. That’s a lie. If they don’t understand their native language, how do they communicate with their parents?
    The advocates want us to believe these people know little about their home country. That’s a lie. Their parents have taught them far more about their home country, than they could have taught them about this country before they brought them here. Their parents didn’t seem to care that their children would be uncomfortable in a strange country when they brought them here. They are far better equipped to function in their home country now, than they ever were to function here when they came.
    Our elected officials are not going to do anything to end illegal immigration. They don’t want it ended. If they did they would end birthright citizenship. Birthright citizenship is the whole reason we have this problem. The number of “anchor babies” who have been born here over the last thirty years has grown so large they now have the power to sway our elections. The fourteenth amendment was never ment to give citizenship to the children born here to foreigners.
    Illegal immigrants don’t do jobs Americans won’t do. They do jobs Americans on Welfare should be doing. Why, with all those on government assistance, would our government even think about, not only legalizing millions of low skilled workers already here, but bringing thousands more in.
    I believe it is the citizens of this country, those who built it and the progeny of those who fought and died for it, who should decide who comes here and who doesn’t. Those who came here illegally have already shown complete disrespect for us. Why should they be rewarded for it?
    I believe our population is large enough. I’d like my grandchildren to enjoy clean air, clean water and beautiful parks. If we continue down this road of uncontrolled immigration, my grandchildren will have to live in a third world cesspool.

    • No Mass Amnesty

      “They do jobs Americans on Welfare should be doing.”


      • RazzBarry1

        Those who have been content to live, like leaches, off the hard work of their fellow Americans, along with those who have enabled them to do so, are to blame, not only for the illegal immigrant problem, but also the bankruptcy of our Nation, monetarily and ethically.

        • Ben Rampp

          @ RazzBarr1: As for the etthical bankruptcy of our nation….you are a perfect example! For a nation supposedly founded on Biblical ideals, “with Liberty and Justice for all!”, we sure have fallen a long way :(

          • RazzBarry1

            That dog won’t hunt. Using the Bible to justify what has been done to this Nation. Shame on you!

            No matter how many times I’ve witnessed it, I’m still taken aback by someone using the words, “Liberty” and “Justice”, as justification for actually wiping their feet on true “Liberty” and “Justice”. Once again, shame on you! I”d say you’re so delusional you even believe, “promote the general welfare”, means Welfare programs.

    • David Diamond

      please, please tea-baggers, please keep on railing immigrants, by the by, YOU people are the offspring of immigrants, you idiots. there wil not be a tea-publican president for generations. so by all means keep up your hateful racist anti-immigration speech, keep saying you want small government in every aspect EXCEPT when it comes to a womans rights. Keep on trying to suppress the vote, (did you not learn one damn lesson from the last election?). keep on ranting against cliemate change. You have disturbed a sleeping bear, america is tired of your failed policies and racist attitutes. You will be voted out.

      • RazzBarry1

        All the problems we have in the world have been caused by delusional people, such as yourself. The only socialists who aren’t delusional, are those who are out for the power. It’s obvious from your regurgitation that your not smart enough to be in for the power. Therefore, you must be delusional.

  • BeverlyNC

    Typical Republican bigotry and the reason they are going to lose again in a landslide in 2016.
    Even with voter suppression laws aimed at Hispanics and Blacks and other ethnic groups, we will work hard to get out the vote to get these extremists and haters out of local and national seats in 2014.
    Get out and vote in 2014 and let’s rid ourselves of these racist do-nothings who ignore issues like jobs, infrastructure, education, and even our returning veterans.
    Republicans have betrayed We the People to serve at the feet of abusive and greedy corporations. Tme to get them gone and bring in leaders who know their sole job as a “respresentative” is to put the People and our best interests above all else – not 420 filibusters to stop all legislation for the people and nation’s recovery.

    • Reality Check

      Oh, Beverly. How many illegal aliens do you employ? There are thousands of unemployed Blacks in your state, so why not hire them? Sounds to me like you’re the racist.

    • belleruin

      What you really mean is “your interests” above all else. Because you’re just like Obama, everything is about you and your wants.

  • Jack H

    This is easily fixed. Legalize marijuana and the “illegal mules” will be put out of business.

  • Robin Cohen

    The issue really is that amnesty for lawbreakers is wrong.
    Furthermore, most illegals are unskilled, uneducated and do not speak English.
    A full time job as a cashier at Walmart will not pay a living wage. How do these new citizens support themselves and their families? On the public dime? We have more than we can handle on welfare already.

    • Reality Check

      Most illegal aliens can’t even read and write Spanish. Doesn’t make them bad people, but it is going to have a social impact.

      • Robin Cohen

        I never said they were bad people. I ‘m saying that most
        simply don’t have the skills to earn a living wage here. Are we going to have to supplement the income they can earn? That is unacceptable. Our welfare rolls are already overburdened. Furthermore, there may be a backlash against these new citizens from those who came here legally and other immigrant groups who worked their way to citizenship and it’s benefits by following the rules.I

  • Mondovibe

    Perhaps King and like minded have eaten too much monsantonized corn/processed food:
    Wonder what country their ancestors immigrated from and what hell they went thru to assimilate.
    Our Indigenous Tribes must find this all pathetic!

    The chickens indeed come home to roost, karma, laws of physics…however you look at this small small world, are upon us.

  • Margaret Adelsberger

    Rep. Steve King is absolutely right. He always conducts himself in a gentlemanly fashion. Those who condemn him are just anti-American fools.

  • John Hill

    GOP in a circular firing squad because Steve King points out the FACT that there are far more drug mules (and I would add, petty criminals, gangbangers, and identity thieves) than valedictorians among illegal alien “youths”.
    This is a party in the process of suicide as they march towards a massive amnesty.

    P.S. THIS 19-year old illegal is NOT a valedictorian:

  • belleruin

    You go Rep. Steve King we true Americans have your back.

  • Hilltex

    I take offense at Republican “leadership” that doesn’t support a Republican member of the House when he speaks the truth. Politically correct apologists have no place in leadership positions. Particularly when they’re working overtime selling out their base for a few pieces of silver.

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