The initial reaction of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) to the Trump administration’s plans to “wind down” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program over the next six months was that the delay amounted to “Republican suicide.” Why? Because, he asserted, the Republican base opposes “amnesty” for immigrants in the country illegally. (This isn’t entirely true; most Republicans support the components of DACA.)
His second reaction was more of a suggestion: Maybe the 800,000-or-so people covered under DACA, all of whom immigrated to the United States illegally as minors and most of whom did so before they turned 7 years old — could be sent back to their countries of origin as Peace Corps volunteers.
His third reaction came on Wednesday in an interview with NBC News.
“They came here to live in the shadows, and we’re not denying them that opportunity to live in the shadows,” King said to NBC’s Kasie Hunt. He then added: “They need to be exposed to the enforcement of the law” — and if they weren’t, that was amnesty.
Of course, a large percentage of those covered by DACA — often called “dreamers” after the failed 2010 Dream Act — didn’t come to the United States to “live in the shadows.” They came for the same reason that 6-year-olds do anything: because their parents told them to. It’s safe to assume that the majority of dreamers have lived most of their lives in the United States and have no cultural ties to their countries of origin. The DACA program allows them to instead stay and work in the United States — without having to do so in “the shadows.”
This is not a surprising comment from Steve King.
This is the same Steve King who offered a toast to the deportation of a dreamer in April.
This is the same Steve King who in March celebrated the nationalist Dutch politician Geert Wilders with a tweet that asserted that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
This is the same Steve King who, last fall, again mentioned Wilders in stating that “cultural suicide by demographic transformation must end.”
This is the same Steve King who, last year, complained about a fellow MSNBC panelist’s comment about “old white people.”
“Where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about, where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?” he asked.
“Than white people?” host Chris Hayes replied, obviously amazed at the question.
“Than … than Western civilization itself,” King replied.
This is the same Steve King who, in 2013, told Newsmax that dreamers weren’t the noble group of hard-working young people that you might think.
“Some of them are valedictorians — and their parents brought them in,” King said (which explains the comment in his Border Patrol toast, above). “It wasn’t their fault.”
“It’s true in some cases,” he went on, “but they aren’t all valedictorians. They weren’t all brought in by their parents. For every one 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.”
This is the same Steve King who, in 2012, suggested that the standard for allowing immigrants into the country should be the same as one might use when picking out a hunting dog.
“You want a good bird dog? You want one that’s going to be aggressive? Pick the one that’s the friskiest,” he said at a town hall, “not the one that’s over there sleeping in the corner.”
All along, it’s been the same Steve King.