Poll: Majority in Steve King’s district back path to citizenship

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has been a vocal opponent of immigration reform, but a new poll finds a majority of his constituents support efforts to give citizenship to many of the nation’s illegal immigrants.

A poll from the American Action Network released on Wednesday shows that 68 percent of voters in King’s district support creating a pathway to “legal status” for illegal immigrants already in the country. Sixty-five percent back a pathway to “citizenship.”

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The poll also finds support for legalizing immigrants among the district’s GOP voters, with 70 percent of Republicans backing options for legal status and 51 percent citizenship.

Overall, the poll found 69 percent of voters in King’s district support comprehensive immigration reform, with 17 percent opposed. Sixty-seven percent of Republicans said they backed overhauling the nation’s immigration laws. 

The poll comes as King has drawn criticism from House GOP leaders for comments he made opposing efforts to grant citizenship to young illegal immigrants, many of whom were brought to the country as children by their parents. 

In an interview last week King depicted many immigrant children as criminal drug traffickers.

“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."

Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerMcConnell: Changes coming to ObamaCare next year Webster wins primary in new district Rank-and-file Republicans fear lame-duck vote on pricey funding bill MORE (R-Ohio) quickly condemned the remarks as “wrong,” with House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorThe Trail 2016: On the fringe Cantor 'pleased' Trump is embracing Jeb Bush's immigration plan Trump’s Breitbart hire sends tremors through Capitol Hill MORE (R-Va.) calling the comments “inexcusable.”

The House GOP is currently weighing immigration reform, after the Senate last month passed a comprehensive bipartisan measure. 

As part of that effort, Cantor and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteBob GoodlatteHouse Freedom Caucus should support justice reform this fall Father of slain reporter rails against ‘orange-faced Fuhrer’ GOP chairman denounces FCC media rules MORE (R-Va.) are working on a bill that would provide citizenship to some young illegal immigrants.

In an interview with The Hill, King said that opposition to “amnesty” for illegal immigrants is growing in the House. 

“There are dozens, scores of us and we're meeting on a weekly basis," King said.