Tea Party Rep. Steve King still thinks DREAMers are drug mules

The far-right congressman implies he's the reason immigration reform won't pass any time soon

Published February 21, 2014 4:25PM (EST)

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa                            (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Iowa Rep. Steve King, a Tea Party favorite, is feeling mighty good about himself now that it looks like immigration reform won't be happening during the remainder of the Obama presidency. And while it's undeniable that King worked hard and at length to scuttle reform, he credits one of his most controversial statements in particular for helping to ensure the country's dysfunctional immigration system remains in place.

King's controversial remark — which at one point led to House Speaker John Boehner calling King, a fellow Republican, an "asshole" — was his contention last year that for every valedictorian DREAMer (a popular shorthand for talking about young undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country by their parents) "there’s another hundred out there who they weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."

Asked by Iowa's Daily Reporter about criticism from fellow GOPers over King's strident opposition to America's immigrants, King revealed that he still believes everything he said before, saying his critics “cannot make a point about anything I said that was anything other than true." He went on to claim that his opponents have no legitimate arguments and thus are forced to "call names and criticize the utilization of the language."

King next obliquely referenced his cantaloupe remark by saying, "Sometimes, I’ve made the point for years and they weren’t listening, so I’ve found another way to get them to pay attention." He pointed to Sen. Dick Durbin, claiming that the Senate Democrats' second-in-command "no longer describes the DREAMers as valedictorians," which is proof of King's having "corrected that major flaw," which was necessary because such a view of DREAMers "distorts the public’s understanding."

In the end, King argued that the criticism he's received from all sides is simply proof of his righteousness. "When they start calling names," King said, "they've lost the debate."

Watch King's answer to the Daily Reporter below, via Right Wing Watch:

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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