Representative Raul Labrador of Idaho harshly criticized comments Representative Steve King of Iowa made recently about illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, calling them “irresponsible and reprehensible.”
King told Newsmax in a recent interview that, while some young illegal immigrants are top students who would bring much to the nation, many more are involved in smuggling illegal drugs.
King being King, he put it rather colorfully: “Some of them are valedictorians, and their parents brought them in,” he said. “For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
In many previous interviews, King has argued that there’s no way for the government to discern which illegal aliens are the innocent students and which are involved in crime, a point that, even if controversial, would not invite criticism the way his most recent comments have.
Regarding those comments, critics have seized on the ratio King gave of criminals to innocents (100 to 1) as well as the physical description of the drug mules, which they say are insensitive.
Labrador, a leading conservative and top player on immigration who has butted heads with King before, concurred, even while not specifying what precisely he found objectionable. “I think what he said was out of touch with the conference. There’s nobody in the conference who would say such a thing and I hope if he thought about it he wouldn’t say such a thing again,” Labrador said at a “Conversations with Conservatives” event.
Speaker John Boehner also called the comments “wrong” and “hateful.”
In a subsequent interview on Radio Iowa, King said his description of “calves the size of cantelopes” came from his visits to the border where he witnessed the physical characteristics of drug mules who had been smuggling “75 pounds of drugs on their back”
Labrador also went on to castigate the media for focusing on King’s remarks, saying that, at a hearing on DREAM Act–like legislation at the House Judiciary Committee yesterday, every Republican except King wanted to provide legalization to illegal aliens brought to the U.S. as children.
“What saddens me about this is that you had three Republicans on the panel who were witnesses yesterday who gave beautiful testimony about why they want to do something with the kids that are here. And you have the entire committee except for Steve King that were very positive in their comments and all you guys can do is flame the flames of one person making the reprehensible and irresponsible comments,” Labrador said.
“So, I think, shame on you. Shame on the media for only concentrating on that aspect of it,” he added.