In an interview with The Huffington Post, Schumer, a member of a group of eight senators that pushed a bipartisan immigration reform proposal through their chamber, was asked about King warning that for every immigrant "who's a valedictory, 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 made the comments in an interview with Newsmax magazine.
"I think Steve King, the more he speaks, the more he helps us get a bill passed," Schumer said. "I am more optimistic today than I have been since our bill passed."
Pro-immigration reform advocates and Democrats have strongly denounced King's comments. At a recent town hall in Iowa, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) called King's comments "hateful, spiteful, degrading language."
Schumer's comments come just as lawmakers go home for August recess. Schumer was asked what topics lawmakers should focus on during town-hall events with constituents. Schumer said jobs and helping the middle class. Schumer was then asked why he didn't include immigration.
"Well, I think you can talk about immigration as an economic issue," Schumer said. "[The Congressional Budget Office] said it would grow the economy 3.5 percent in the first decade, the GDP. And no government program, whether it's a Democratic program or spending or a Republican program of cuts, can claim that."