It seems appropriate to end the year with Rep. Steve King (R-IA), since Speaker Boehner has been allowing him to dictate the House GOP’s efforts on immigration all year. Steve King is the guy who, in July, likened DREAMers to drug mules who have “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” and Boehner is the guy who gave King a vote on his amendment to deport DREAMers. Almost nothing else has happened in the lower chamber on immigration all year, making Steve King’s legacy the only record the House GOP has to run on, as they head into another election year where they’ll need to court Latino voters.
And now King is in the news again, today comparing immigration reform to a bank robbery. According to Politico, King was on a Judicial Watch panel today when he said:
It isn’t just as if amnesty for someone whom, say, might go in and rob a bank, because granting them amnesty would be when they get out on the street with the loot, you would say to them, ‘I’m going to give you amnesty, now you’re not going to be able to rob the bank anymore. But this is giving them the loot, too. You get to rob the bank and keep the money. That’s what amnesty really is, it’s pardon them for the crime and reward them with the objective of it. And it breaks down our culture and our civilization.
That’s right: yesterday, immigrant and advocate children delivered 6,000 letters to Congress, asking House leaders to pass legislation that would stop the separation of their families, and today, Steve King is once again comparing those children and their families to criminals. Is there any wonder why Republicans have a problem attracting Latino voters?
And yet, John Boehner and House GOP leaders are apparently still letting Steve King set their immigration agenda and allowing immigration reform to drag into 2014 — even though they could’ve taken time in 2013 to pass legislation. The longer they stall before passing reform, the more time Steve King and others will have time to make outrageous and offensive statements. And Mitt Romney’s 23% Latino vote share from 2012 might end up being a high point for the GOP.