During recent congressional debates over immigration, we called rabid anti-immigrant Rep. Steve King the leader of the Republican Party on immigration, recognizing that despite the leadership gavel in Speaker John Boehner’s hands, King was the real driver of the GOP’s policy direction in the House (note the absence of a vote for immigration reform in the House, but multiple votes to advance King’s pet priorities, such as ending the DACA program for Dreamers).
Given how King relishes his status as an anti-immigrant leader, maybe it was galling for him to share the anti-immigrant spotlight with a range of other Republicans in recent weeks. Because after GOP candidates such as Scott Brown, Terri Lynn Land, Pat Roberts, Tom Cotton, and others have gained infamy for running hard in an anti-immigrant direction, King is now rejoining the fun and making up for lost time in advancing offensive and crackpot anti-immigrant ideas (as well as stating that he doesn’t expect to meet any gays in Heaven, but that’s for another conversation).
Appearing with the always substantive and rational Donald Trump at an event in Iowa last weekend, King warned that America was on its way to becoming “a Third World country” and then, according to a Mediaiterecap:
“King turned his focus to a favorite topic — securing the border — raising fears about drugs and gang members entering the country through Mexico, along with ISIS ‘that’s been interdicted on our southern border,’ the ‘beheadings in Oklahoma,’ the ‘paralysis disease’ that he suggested was brought into the U.S. by undocumented children and ‘the biggest threat of all, Ebola.’”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Treating Latinos and immigrants as if they are a threat to our nation’s safety is hardly a winning or durable electoral strategy. In fact, the GOP’s run to the anti-immigrant extreme in 2014 is already sowing the seeds of the Party’s demise in 2016 and beyond. Yet the Steve King wing of the Party is ascendant with no countervailing GOP voices stepping up to challenge this direction. Good luck with that in 2016 and beyond.”