By Cameron Joseph - 09/19/13 06:04 PM EDT
Rep. Steve King said at a recent rally that illegal immigrants have killed "multiple times the victims of Sept. 11."
The Iowa Republican, speaking at a Sept. 13 rally in Omaha, Neb. for victims of crime by illegal immigrants, says he'd been told by a former immigration agent that the number of deaths "will be in multiples of the victims" of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Later in the speech, he said that in a four-year period the number of illegal immigrants incarcerated for homicide in the U.S. totaled 25,064 during one four-year period, "a multiple of eight-plus" those who died during the Sept. 11 attacks.
King, a leading opponent of the bipartisan immigration reform bill
passed by the Senate, has a history of stirring controversy with his
The western Iowa congressman said earlier this year that many young illegal immigrants have "calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."
That remark invited sharp criticism from GOP leaders, including Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who called them “wrong” and “hateful.”
King, who represents a Republican-leaning district in northwest Iowa, is facing Army veteran and Biden presidential campaign alum Jim Mowrer (D) in 2014. He easily dispatched a highly touted Democrat in the 2012 election.