August 15th, 2013
09:01 AM ET
1 year ago

Steve King: 'Spell' cast over GOP on immigration

(CNN) – Leaders in his party have been blinded to the consequences of immigration reform by the potential for gaining votes among Latinos, Rep. Steve King claimed in an interview Thursday.

Speaking to Kate Bolduan on CNN's "New Day," King said the push to overhaul the nation's immigration system was being adopted by Republicans, despite their opposition in the past to similar efforts.

"Last year, almost everybody at my conference would have agreed with me on this immigration issue," said King, an Iowa congressman. "This year it seems after the presidential election a spell has been cast over a good number of Republicans and they seem to think the presidential election was about immigration. I'd ask them: find me that debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama that addressed immigration. I don't remember it, I can't find it."

King has faced criticism from fellow Republicans for his stance on immigration, as well as for comments he made discussing children of immigrants who want to gain U.S. citizenship if they have graduated high school or served in the military – the so-called "DREAMers."

In that interview, with the conservative website Newsmax, he said: "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."

The remark drew quick and angry responses from Republican leaders like House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who called the remarks unhelpful in the ongoing debate over comprehensive immigration reform.

King, however, didn't back down, calling on critics to provide evidence that he was wrong – and continuing his staunch resistance to current legislative efforts that would provide a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

"No spell has been cast over me," he said Thursday. "It doesn't seem to be logical or rational to me that this is the right thing to do."

Republican lawmakers and pundits, he argued, "seem to do that calculation that we should sacrifice the rule of law by granting amnesty on the altar of what they believe is political expediency."

According to exit polls, only 27% of Latinos who voted in last year's presidential election chose Republican Mitt Romney – evidence, some in the GOP have argued, that their party needs to do a better job of reaching the growing demographic.


Filed under: Immigration • Steve King
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Lynda/Minnesota

    I can think of no good reason why this man is given such adulation by CNN. Then again, I can think of no good reason why so many of the GOPer clowns are given top billing at CNN.

    August 15, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  2. Dixe

    I believe that most of the immagrants in question are honest, hard working people. They have been here for years. If they are here working and raising their families they deserve citizenship. We cannot afford not too. We need all the people to pay taxes not just afew.

    August 15, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    Basically, Republicans have the mistaken notion, that Mexicans will vote for Republicans........they will NOT! That's what the Dems know........and WHY they want to legalize them.......to get their votes, to stay in power.

    Republicans have demonstrated real stupidity over that issue. Not to mention, the Dems are still bringing in illegals by the thousands.

    August 15, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  4. MaryM

    Just keep talking GOP. Guess you did not learn anything from your defeat in the last election. You are digging that hole deeper and deeper every time you open your mouths. And by the time the next general election rolls around, Hillary will just walk right into the White House.
    GOP, maybe you should start practicing now, Madam President Hillary Clinton

    August 15, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  5. Guest

    The immigrants who understand our nations principles and the constitution will vote conservative. Those who want more freebies from the tax payer will vote dumbocratic and, in doing so, will bring our nation deeper into the cesspool it has become under obama.

    August 15, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  6. Gurgy

    My friend, GOP is totally defunct, dead for a decade or two. Period. They better change their ideology.

    August 15, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  7. sonny chapman

    The only way to break a spell is to burn a few witches. Haven't heard of that being done in the last 300 years, so that tells you his mindset.

    August 15, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  8. Wake up People!

    You really have to love the GOPT, they are the gift that just keeps on giving.

    Please proceed teatrolls....

    August 15, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  9. Pete

    Keep bringing up your minions republicans the more the merrier..The more ignorent mouth pieces you stand in front of God and everyone the more your party seems irrelevant and imploding just in time for midterms..Now if midterms could come any sooner,too bad isn't it!!

    August 15, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    -Rick McDaniel

    Basically, Republicans have the mistaken notion, that Mexicans will vote for Republicans........they will NOT! That's what the Dems know........and WHY they want to legalize them.......to get their votes, to stay in power.

    Republicans have demonstrated real stupidity over that issue. Not to mention, the Dems are still bringing in illegals by the thousands.
    ************
    Then secede: you've already stated your sympathy with the principles of John C Calhoun, Jefferson Davis and other traitors, so declare your independence and be done with it, or, better still, leave. Too bad for you South Africa ended apartheid: you would have fit right in with Eugene Terra Blanche and the rest of the openly racist nutjobs.

    August 15, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  11. ghostwriter

    Funny thing is that King is right. The republicans are only doing this for votes. They said as much. Of course, their blind followers. who extoll the virtues of morality, have remained largely silent on this new found pandering for votes. I mean, it would be different if they at least said it was about doing the right thing. I'd even take a flip flop as legit. But they came out and said it.

    So if they are willing to fold on a long standing conservative issue such as this for votes.......

    August 15, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  12. Larry in Houston

    LOL . . . "spell" ? what's he mean by "spell" ? Oh brother !! All one has to do, is spend 1 (one) evening, on the "F" word news channel, and the vitrol & hate & negative remarks & comments they spew, and with such anger, believe me, do you think the average voters cannot see this ? IF they continue to do this, throughout 2016, especially 6 weeks before the election, (that's when the 18 – 40 crowd starts paying attention, btw) They (the GOP) will end up losing big time. They may win the 2014 mid-terms. ( note I said "may") but that will all depend on the 18 – 40 voting crowd.
    Pathetic I tell ya, Pathetic . . . bottom line : they need to move towards the middle, or else they are going to be in big trouble.

    August 15, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  13. ghostwriter

    Say guest, when conservatives start following the Constitution, please let us know.

    August 15, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  14. Guest

    Ghost, you must be confused with republican and GOP vice conservative....not the same my friend.

    August 15, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  15. Data Driven

    @Rick McDaniel,

    Yes. Democrats want Latino votes. They promote policies to get those votes. This is what's known as "politics". If this sort of thing bothers you, I recommend a different spectator sport to follow.

    America has lots of sports.

    August 15, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  16. Data Driven

    @ghostwriter,

    Not ALL Republicans, though. Some in lilly-white regions like Iowa need not worry about the Latino vote; rather, they need to worry about their racist base.

    Hence, Mr. King.

    August 15, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    -Guest

    Ghost, you must be confused with republican and GOP vice conservative....not the same my friend.
    *********************
    Then explain Justice Robert's vote on the ACA, or are you saying he does not understand the Constitution? BTW, one of the goals of conservatives over the last 30 years has been to make the GOP a Conservative party, or did you miss that trend since Reagan came into office?

    August 15, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  18. Al-NY,NY

    Is Christine O'Donnell ("I am not a witch") around? In any case, the GOP is never going to get above 30% of hispanic voters with lairs and xenophobes like King

    August 15, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  19. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Are you going to let this hick from the hick state of Iowa with hardly any people in it derail your horse and buggy agenda GOP?????nobody is going to vote GOP in 2014 or 2016 . We are taking the house and senate from you because of your incompetents and obstruction of all things that would help our country. The GOP, the most hated political party!!!! The garbage of America !!!!!!!!!!!

    August 15, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  20. rs

    King, while wrong on so many points hits a target here. If the GOP seriously takes up immigration reform, it won't be because the system is broken, or for humanitarian reasons, or because it will help the economy and generate more revenues. No, the GOP will take this up ONLY if they feel this makes their backward, overtly racist party attractive to Hispanics and minorities.

    August 15, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  21. Tom

    It is truly amazing how nine months after Romney lost, many Republicans have reverted back to the same ideals that appeal to its traditional base - older white people. Immigration isn't a nasty "spell" cast over unsuspecting Republicans - it's called math. Changing demographics mean old white people no longer have the power to swing national elections. Romnney's defeat documented that fact. If the Republicans ever want to see the White House without needing a visitor pass, they are going to have to appeal to a broader base of the population.

    August 15, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  22. rs

    Basically, Republicans have the mistaken notion, that Mexicans will vote for Republicans........they will NOT!
    __________________________
    And just why is that Rick? Could it be the Arizona and Texas GOP philosophy that Hispani=illegal? Could it be the GOP's pro-rich mentality? Could it be the GOP's ardent anti-labor and anti-union meme?

    Yes, Hispanics (now) vote overwhemingly Democratic- and that is because as a Party the Democrats favor the values or real-live working class Americans..

    As for your illegal charge- prove it or move on and stop your lies.

    August 15, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. rs

    Guest

    The immigrants who understand our nations principles and the constitution will vote conservative. Those who want more freebies from the tax payer will vote dumbocratic
    ___________________________
    You realize, I hope that there are just a few incorrect facts with your statements:
    First, it is Republican states that take in more federal revenue than they pay in- and pay out more to the poor and retirees as "freebies".
    Second, that Social Security and Medicare are by far the largest social benefit payouts. Guess what genius, workers, and employers pay for that, not the taxpayer.
    You Rightes need to figure something out- no one wants to be called a freeloade, especially for stuff we've paid into all our lives- it's ours bud. Get lost!

    August 15, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |