Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on Tuesday defended remarks he made about most illegal immigrants being drug runners, saying the “physical characteristics” of many in the country illegally was evidence that they’d been hauling drugs across the border.
“It’s not something that I’m making up. This is real,” King said in an interview with Radio Iowa.
King, one of the staunchest opponents of immigration reform in the House, stoked controversy over the weekend when he said he opposed measures to grant citizenship to young illegal immigrants, some of whom were brought to the country by their parents, because the majority are drug runners.
“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,” King said. “These people would be legalized with the same act.”
Those remarks invited sharp criticism from House GOP leaders, including Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who called the comments “wrong” and “hateful.”
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus said Wednesday that nine of its members would take to the House floor to “denounce the harmful comments.”
“It seems as though I have a few critics out there, but those who have been advocating for the Dream Act have been trying to make it about valedictorians,” King told Radio Iowa.
“I don’t disagree that there are Dreamers that are valedictorians, but it also would legalize those that are smuggling drugs into the United States. I made a comment in an interview last week … to Newsmax … and I said: ‘For every valedictorian, you have a hundred 130-pound drug smugglers with calves the size of cantaloupes.’ And that comes from being down on the border, spending days and nights down there in multiple trips and time with the Border Patrol. … That description essentially came from them.”