Immigration

Immigration Reform Has New Life, But Will House Republican Leaders Cave to Extremists?

Immigration reform activists and President Obama have renewed the push for Congress to act on much-needed immigration legislation this year. We now see new movement as three Republicans have joined numerous Democrats in the House in co-sponsoring legislation that moves us closer to reform.

The question to ask going forward is whether House Republican leaders will side with extreme right-wing voices -- the same voices that shut down government -- or the majority of Americans who support a bi-partisan solution. It’s a clear choice and Republican leaders in the House have the power to move reform forward. All of this is laid out in People For’s recent Right Wing Watch report: Congressional Republicans' Clear Choice on Immigration.
 

PFAW

Religious Right Anti-Immigrant Group Warns Non-Christian Immigrants Will Encourage Sex Trafficking

Conservative activist Kelly Monroe Kullberg recently formed Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration as a response to the pro-reform Evangelical Immigration Table, and her new organization has received support from immigration critics like the American Family Association.

Like other Religious Right groups such as Eagle Forum and Family Research Council, the AFA is a staunch opponent of immigration reform and spokesman Bryan Fischer has even called for the US to require that all immigrations convert to Christianity and enforce a ban on Muslim immigration.

AFA talk show host Sandy Rios spoke to Kullberg this week about the supposed dangers of the Senate reform bill, including the laughable claim that the legislation will lead to “open borders” and therefore a rise in sex and human trafficking.

She also warned that people of “other faiths” and “incompatibly worldviews,” especially Muslims, will flood into America and “lessen the value on human life” in the US, making sex trafficking more acceptable. “As Islam takes root in America and other traditions take root, we are seeing a decline in human worth, human value and a rise in trafficking,” Kullberg said.

Numbers USA To Marco Rubio: Too Little, Too Late

Sen. Marco Rubio’s politically transparent U-turn on immigration reform may not be paying dividends among anti-immigrant activists as he would have hoped. The Florida Republican recently came out against the very comprehensive reform legislation he sponsored and helped pass in the Senate, but one of the country’s top opponents of his bill think it’s too little, too late.

NumbersUSA Director of Government Relations Rosemary Jenks told Sandy Rios yesterday that Rubio has already “poisoned the well” and now her group will urge congressman to vote against any immigration bill coming out of the House.

Rios: Do you think that Marco Rubio’s shift, slight shift, is helpful?

Jenks: Unfortunately, Rubio set out his positions in the Gang of 8 bill and that bill has essentially poisoned the well. We can’t go forward with a piecemeal approach now because that bill is sitting there, waiting for the House to pass any immigration bill so that Harry Reid can take that bill and substitute in S. 744, the Senate Gang of 8 bill, and then send it back to the House for a conference. That’s the path. So at this point, because that bill has poisoned the well, it’s too late for Marco Rubio to say, ‘oh you know I believed in a piecemeal approach all along and that’s what we should do.

Schlafly: 'It's The Statue Of Liberty, Not The Statue Of Immigration'

Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly is sick and tired of people invoking the Statue of Liberty to advocate for fixing our immigration laws.

In a radio commentary today Schlafly – who previously argued that the Bible’s mandate for “compassion” doesn’t apply to immigrants – commemorates the anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty by declaring that the statue “has nothing whatsoever to do with immigration.” Instead, she argued, “people who had nothing to do with this great gift from the French were allowed to paste a plague on the base of the statue with a quotation that has misrepresented the statue as an invitation to open immigration.”

“Remember, it’s the Statue of Liberty, not the Statue of Immigration,” she concludes.

While Schlafly is correct that the Statue of Liberty was not originally meant by the French to commemorate immigration, it quickly became a symbol of America’s promise for immigrants. As a National Parks Service historian told the New York Times, the statue “became really famous among immigrants. And it was really immigrants that lifted her up to a sort of a glory that was probably before America really fully embraced her.” The addition of the plaque with Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus” 20 years after the statue’s erection merely reinforced this symbolic value.

Schlafly somewhat undermines her case by quoting speeches from presidents who were very aware of the statue’s symbolic value. Schlafly selectively quotes Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech at the fiftieth anniversary of the dedication of the statue…a speech that was all about the importance of immigrants to American life. Likewise, she quotes Ronald Reagan’s speech at the statue’s centennial, which was also focused on the statue’s symbolism of a nation of immigrants. “Which of us does not think of other grandfathers and grandmothers, from so many places around the globe, for whom this statue was the first glimpse of America?” he asked.

But no, Schlafly says, “The statue has nothing to do with immigration.”

The Statue of Liberty is probably the most identifying symbol of America. It's almost like a religious shrine for Americans. Today is the anniversary of its dedication on October 28, 1886. A gift from France, it was built by Gustav Eiffel, the builder of the Eiffel Tower, and designed by Auguste Bartholdi, who wrote this about the Statue of Liberty: "The statue was born for this place which inspired its conception. May God be pleased to bless my efforts and my work, and to crown it with success, the duration and moral influence which it ought to have."

On the Statue of Liberty's 50th anniversary in 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated: "The Almighty did prepare this American continent to be a place of the second chance.... Millions have ... found ... freedom of opportunity, freedom of thought, freedom to worship God." President Dwight Eisenhower stated in 1954: "It represents ... a nation whose greatness is based on a firm unshakable belief that all of us mere mortals are dependent upon the mercy of a Superior Being." When the Statue of Liberty was relighted after a restoration, President Ronald Reagan said in 1986: "I've always thought ... that God had His reasons for placing this land here between two great oceans..."

The Statue of Liberty memorializes the unique liberty we enjoy in America. It has nothing whatever to do with immigration. It's most unfortunate that people who had nothing to do with this great gift from the French were allowed to paste a plaque on the base of the Statue with a quotation that has misrepresented the Statue as an invitation to open immigration. The Statue has nothing to do with immigration.

Remember, it's the Statue of Liberty, not the Statue of Immigration.
 

PFAW Takes On Cuccinelli With Spanish-Language Ads

With the election in Virginia less than two weeks away, PFAW is holding Cuccinelli accountable for his record of extreme views and hateful comments.
PFAW

Continuing the Fight for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

With so many distractions these days, from an ongoing government shutdown, to debt limit deadlines, you can imagine how easy it may be for other issues to go by the wayside. That’s why it’s increasingly important that we keep pressing elected leaders to act on major concerns, such as comprehensive immigration reform (CIR), that have been targeted by conservative extremists looking to stall and derail every bit of President Obama’s agenda.

As has been report on many news outlets, that fight continued earlier this week as activists called attention to the need for CIR with rallies on the National Mall and around the country. This and so many other issues have hit road blocks in congress because of right-wing voices stymieing progress.

People For made a point of calling out those extreme voices in a report released earlier this summer entitled, “Congressional Republicans' Clear Choice on Immigration.” This report shines a light on many of the activists working to block CIR, and calls on congressional leaders to stand with the majority of both parties to move forward on this important issue.

PFAW

Bryan Fischer Relies On Chain Email To Praise Japan For Nonexistent Islam Policy

American Family Association radio hosts have a tendency to ignore real journalism and instead to rely on chain emails to back up their absurd conspiracy theories, including claims that Obamacare has a special exemption for Muslims and that President Obama wears a secret Muslim wedding ring.

Last week on Focal Point, AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer mentioned a right-wing chain email that says Japan bans mosques, Qurans and Muslim immigration — all of which are measures that Fischer supports wholeheartedly.

“Japan does not allow any Muslims to immigrate there,” Fischer said. “They cannot become Japanese citizens, the Quran is not permitted in the country of Japan, the teaching of Islam is not permitted in the country of Japan, no mosques are permitted in the country of Japan. If that information is correct, that’s one nation that’s got its eyes open.”

Watch:

A simple Google search will tell you that there are indeed mosques in Japan — seeing that the country has a century-old Muslim community — and Qurans and Islamic literature are not prohibited.

While Fischer claimed that Japan bans Muslim immigration, in fact the country has extremely strict immigration laws that make it difficult for anyone to become a citizen.

Of course, none of this matters to Fischer, who will likely continue to point to this chain email’s claims about Japan as a model for the United States to harshly curtail religious freedom and ban Islam.

Schlafly Objects To LA Schools iPad Program Because It Might Benefit Children Of Immigrants

Phyllis Schlafly is livid about the Los Angeles Unified School District's decision to launch a program last month to put iPads in the hands of every student in the school district. The Los Angeles Times explains that the effort is intended to “put a school district composed mostly of low-income, minority students on an even footing with more prosperous students, who have such devices at home, at school or both.” The program was temporarily halted this week after enterprising students at one test school promptly figured out how to hack the iPads for personal use – but that’s not what concerns Schlafly.

Instead, in her Eagle Forum radio commentary today, Schlafly frets that the “fancy electronics” might be used to educate the children of undocumented immigrants…or any student learning English as a second language:

The superintendent says his goal is to “close the technology gap” for the many low-income students in the district, but technology doesn’t seem to be the central problem. Los Angeles Unified is a very depressed school district, regardless of how much technology students do or do not have. It continually has some of California’s lowest test scores, and almost 1/3 of its students do not finish high school. (Throughout the rest of the state, only 13% of students don’t make it to graduation.) The waste of money on fancy electronics seems even more egregious when we consider what a terrible job Los Angeles Unified currently does educating its students.

To add insult to injury, many of the students who will be receiving a taxpayer-funded iPad aren’t even supposed to be in the United States. Los Angeles has one of the highest illegal alien populations in the U.S. Almost 400,000 illegal aliens live in this district. Almost a third of its students are classified as “English learners.”

You may want to keep these kinds of frivolous expenses in mind next time your own school district asks for a tax increase. In the district I live in, the school board is asking for a tax increase almost every year.

Gohmert Claims Obamacare Will Lead To Mass Unemployment, Refusal Of Pacemakers

Yesterday, after suggesting that the Obama administration is opening the door for domestic terrorism and aiding Al Qaeda, Rep. Louie Gohmert and talk show host Lars Larson talked about the alleged dangers of Obamacare. The Texas Republican claimed that once “Obamacare kicks in fully, you can’t get your pacemaker, you can’t have this, you can’t have that.”

He then went after PolitiFact and accused them of being “Democratic operatives” for refuting one of his claims about the reform law. While PolitiFact, a non-partisan group, has rebutted plenty of Gohmert’s untrue statements, he was actually referring to a report by FactCheck.org, which is run by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center.

“It’s just so bad for most Americans, it’s just terrible,” Gohmert claimed.

Gohmert also attacked the Senate immigration bill for including a Republican provision that prevents formerly undocumented immigrants from receiving health insurance subsidies.

Gohmert: The Senate says there solution is the immigration bill they passed because under their immigration bill companies would have a hard time not doing what the Senate bill encourages and that is firing every fulltime American employee and hiring the immigrants who have just been given legal status because if you fire the Americans and hire the people that came in illegally, they get legal status under the Senate bill, then you don’t have to provide them Obamacare insurance or pay the fines. SO maybe if the Senate got everything they wanted, both Obamacare and their amnesty bill, you’d have most Americans that work for big companies losing their jobs all over America.

Larson: So we’re just going to hand all the jobs to people who aren’t legally in the country and say they’re cheaper to employ because we don’t have to buy health insurance for them.

Gohmert: Right, exactly. That’s what the Senate immigration bill does.

Anti-Immigrant Activist on Undocumented Population: 'Weed The Garden' And 'Cull The Herd'

Zack Taylor of the National Association for Former Border Patrol Officers has been a leading voice against immigration reform, charging that “America’s immigration laws are not broken” and estimating that there are around 20 million undocumented immigrants in the US. In an interview with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios today, Taylor claimed that of the 20 million (a grossly inflated number), “potentially thirty percent” have criminal records – and that immigration enforcement officials must “cull the herd” of immigrants.

Actually, immigrants – both documented and undocumented -- are far less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans, and many of those who are in prison are there as a result of immigration violations rather than violent crimes.

Taylor then went on to falsely suggest that the Obama administration is ignoring laws and not targeting immigrants with criminal records. But as Beth Caldwell notes, two million undocumented immigrants have been deported in the last five years and the Senate reform bill “categorically excludes most people with criminal convictions from relief.”

“It’s just like having a garden; you have to weed the garden. If you’re raising animals; you have to cull the herd. That’s what needs to happen,” Taylor said.

This whole business about legalizing an unknown—when I talk about unknown, we’re talking about potentially 30% of the people that are here have criminal records. Why don’t we just go ahead and enforce the current immigration laws? It’s just like having a garden; you have to weed the garden. If you’re raising animals; you have to cull the herd. That’s what needs to happen. We need to turn our law enforcement people into a screw to where the people that are taken full custody arrest of are processed for immigration backgrounds and those that have criminal records removed. That’s not so hard to understand because these people are being picked up committing other crimes.

ALIPAC's Tasteful 9/11 Message: 'Illegals Are Hijacking Our Government: Let's Roll Americans'

The anti-immigrant group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), headed by activist William Gheen, chose to commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks today by very literally comparing undocumented immigrants to the 9/11 hijackers, sending out an email with the subject line: “Illegals are hijacking our government: Let’s roll Americans.”

“Today, let us bow our heads in prayer for those lost on 9/11 and the thousands of Americans that continue to be slaughtered each year by illegal immigrants who are being supported by large corporations and our own government and politicians,” Gheen pleads in the email.

He goes on to suggest that recipients “honor the fallen” by contacting elected officials to urge them to oppose comprehensive immigration legislation: “Let's hit these office phone lines, twitter accounts, and Facebook pages hard today, and instead of pro amnesty supporters, let the Americans speak against amnesty on 9/11!”

Illegals are hijacking our government: Let's roll Americans

Today is the 9 year anniversary of the founding of ALIPAC. We chose to launch on 9/11 in honor of the victims of the terror attacks that occurred because our government failed at its most basic responsibility to protect our citizens from those who would enter our nation to do us harm.

That is what continues to happen each day our government leaves our borders wide open and our existing immigration laws virtually unenforced.

Today, let us bow our heads in prayer for those lost on 9/11 and the thousands of Americans that continue to be slaughtered each year by illegal immigrants who are being supported by large corporations and our own government and politicians.

We can also honor the fallen by fighting to secure our nation from those who plan to pass Amnesty for illegal aliens this October. We just received word that Congressman Bob Goodlatte plans to get a bill passed in October and this will translate into Amnesty for illegals once any immigration bill passed this year is reconciled with the Senate Amnesty bill in conference.

Let's hit these office phone lines, twitter accounts, and Facebook pages hard today, and instead of pro amnesty supporters, let the Americans speak against amnesty on 9/11!

The illegals are trying to hijack the cockpit of America's government!

Let's roll!

William Gheen and The ALIPAC Team
 

Bachmann: We Need God's Help To Defeat Hillary Clinton In 2016

After a lengthy interview with Jan Markell about President Obama’s supposed push for an Islamic caliphate, Michele Bachmann spoke to the Christian Right radio host about the 2016 presidential election, immigration reform and the Last Days.

Bachmann pushed back on Markell’s fera that Hillary Clinton will be elected president: “I don’t at all because I look at the story of David and Goliath, all David needed was one smooth stone to fell the giant. It wasn’t the stone, it wasn’t David, it was the strong right arm of a Holy God.”

She said that if “we repent, if we cry out to God, we have no idea what the Lord God will do for us in 2016.”

After telling Markell that the GOP needs to discover what its “positive, big picture message solution needs to be,” she responded to a question about support for Israeli policies within Congress to chastise Republicans who supported immigration reform.

She said that just as lawmakers need to stand by Israel “if Iran decides to drop a nuclear weapon on Israel,” the GOP must stand firm on immigration: “It’s not when times are good, it’s when times are bad when you count your friends. I got to tell you, I’ve been shocked and appalled by the conservatives who have gotten on board this train of amnesty for illegal aliens; I’ve been absolutely floored.”

“For some reason they’re on a political suicide journey to make sure that this happens,” Bachmann warned. “This will hurt and forever structurally change our country into the future and I think it will hurt us from a national security perspective as well.”

Bachmann then explained how she sees the “signs of the times.”

“We are in times that are unprecedented,” Bachmann said. “These are the times of birth pangs, we’re seeing the intensity of age and the speed and rapidity that these events are starting to speed up so fast that we can hardly get our minds about it.”

Marell lamented “that many are heartbroken because we’ve watched this wonderful country of ours just tank more and more and more because of this secular humanist, hardcore, atheistic, left who is hell bent on socialism for America.” 

Video: Meet The Nativists Trying to Stop Immigration Reform

Right Wing Watch reported this summer about the creation of the Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA), a new anti-immigrant group designed to appeal to African Americans, which is just the latest member of a closely knit circle of anti-immigrant groups tied to Nativist leader John Tanton.

Also part of that circle are the three most prominent groups working to stop immigration reform in Congress: The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and Numbers USA.

Our friends at the immigrants’ rights groups America’s Voice, Black Alliance For Just Immigration and Center for New Community have put together a great, short video illustrating the ties between these groups and how they’re working together to try to bring down the new immigration law.

PFAW

CIS To Republicans: Oppose Immigration Policy Because Obama Supports It!

The anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies apparently knows how to motivate Republicans in Congress these days. In a document released this weekend, the group urges Republican members of Congress to oppose bipartisan immigration reform…just because President Obama supports it.

In a document called “Questions for Lawmakers on Immigration,” CIS has a special section of “Questions for Republican Politicians,” which starts off with “Why are you so interested in helping Obama achieve his No. 1 agenda item?” The group goes on to recommend that Republicans focus on Benghazi instead of “trying to help” the president and to warn that “this amnesty would create more constituents for Obamacare and Big Government.”

Q: Why are you so interested in helping Obama achieve his No. 1 agenda item? Why aren't you spending time going after Obama on Benghazi, the NSA spying, and the IRS targeting conservatives? Instead you're trying to help him!

In order to distance himself from the various scandals, President Obama needs a political win and amnesty is his top priority. If the bill becomes law, the media will be happy to allow Obama to take all credit for the bill. There is no evidence to suggest that passage of an amnesty bill will help GOP politicians at the polls.

Q: Considering that a recent Pew Hispanic Center poll found that 81 percent of Hispanic immigrants say they would rather have a bigger government with more services than a smaller government with fewer services, don't you think that this amnesty would create more constituents for Obamacare and Big Government?

A recent Pew Hispanic Center poll found that Hispanic immigrants support bigger government at a much higher rate than the national average. The poll found that Hispanic support for big government goes down after a few generations, but that it still remains higher than the national average. The report found: "The share that wants a bigger government falls to 72 percent among second-generation Hispanics and 58 percent among third-generation Hispanics. By contrast, just only 41 percent of the general U.S. public say they want a bigger government, while nearly half (48 percent) say they want a smaller government." Looking at all Hispanics in the United States (immigrants and Americans), an average of 75 percent support larger government, compared to only 41 percent of Americans nationwide.

Right Wing Watch Telebriefing on Anti-Immigration Activists

Last week, People For the American Way issued its latest Right Wing Watch: In Focus report on the stark choice presented to congressional Republicans: stand up for the comprehensive immigration reform supported by a strong majority of Americans, or stand with anti-immigrant extremists using lies and bigotry to derail it.

On Tuesday, we hosted a telebrieifing with PFAW members to discuss the report, the prospects for reform in the House of Representatives and how activists can help make a difference.

If you missed it, you can listen to the call here.

And, of course, take a look at the report itself, Congressional Republicans' Clear Choice on Immigration: Stand With Pro-Reform Majorities or Cave to Anti-Immigrant Extremists.

PFAW

Schlafly: Immigration And Health Care Reform Are Part Of Obama's Plan To Introduce Communism

Eagle Forum head Phyllis Schlafly, one of the most vocal opponents of immigration reform, took her case to the sympathetic audience at the Talk To Solomon Show last week. Schlafly told host Stan Solomon that President Obama’s drive “to put another thirty million people on our health care system ties in with Obama’s plan for amnesty, to bring them in by the millions and load them onto the taxpayer.”

Solomon explained that the result would be communism: “This is the design, communism is equal but awful, everyone has the same but no one has everything. Everyone has the same but no one has anything. That’s Obama’s plan.”

“That’s his plan,” Schlafly replied.

Earlier this year, Schlafly similarly alleged that immigration reform efforts were crafted by “socialist-minded people” who “want to destroy our system.”

Watch:

Struggling Anti-Immigrant Group Turns on Its Members With Frowny Face, Passive-Aggressive Plea

As the Atlantic’s Molly Ball reported yesterday, the anti-immigrant movement’s attempts to rile up its supporters in opposition to the Senate’s immigration proposal this summer have been largely an embarrassing bust.

The anti-immigrant group ALIPAC stepped up yesterday and took its members to task, sending out an email with the subject line “Uh Oh, Illegals Got the Best of Us Yesterday :(

The group had sent out an appeal asking its members to send a message of support to Tennessee Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais, who gained notoriety over the weekend for telling an 11-year-old girl at a town hall meeting that her father should be deported, provoking enthusiastic applause from his tea party supporters.

“We are not sure what went wrong but we asked all of you to take some very simple steps to fight back against Amnesty yesterday but unfortunately only 1,600 of the more than 40,000 on our e-mail lists, plus the more than 130,000 on our social media would take 5 minutes to act!,” ALIPAC president William Gheen writes. “Thus, we are forgoing what we planned to do today to send you this request once more. Please respond to all ALIPAC activism requests.”

Subject: Uh Oh, Illegals Got the Best of Us Yesterday :(

Friends of ALIPAC,

We are not sure what went wrong but we asked all of you to take some very simple steps to fight back against Amnesty yesterday but unfortunately only 1,600 of the more than 40,000 on our e-mail lists, plus the more than 130,000 on our social media would take 5 minutes to act!

The illegal alien supporters racked up over 82,000 views on their copy of this video and pommeled Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) with angry calls for taking the stance that you and most Americans want him to take!

Thus, we are forgoing what we planned to do today to send you this request once more. Please respond to all ALIPAC activism requests. Taking less than 5 minutes to do this could have a big impact!

Step 1: Visit this link and watch this video please. If you have a YouTube account then vote thumbs up and make a comment...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrCjL...LDdM1ow3oHZY1w

Step 2: Call the number for Congressman Scott DesJarlais provided on the top of the video and thank him for standing up against Amnesty for illegal aliens. Tell him you plan to support him for his stance and his courageous actions in this video. DesJarlais has heard from angry illegal alien supporters, now he needs to hear from you!

Step 3: Share this video by forwarding emails, making posts on blogs and forums, and on social media like Facebook and Twitter.

Big thanks to the 1,600 of you who took the actions we requested yesterday seriously. Hopefully, the 95% of you who took no action will respond today!

William Gheen and The ALIPAC Team

CIS Wonders Why 'Handsome Illegal' in Zuckerberg Ad Wants Path to Citizenship

The Center for Immigration Studies was not taken with the ad that Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us put together profiling Alejandro Morales, a DREAMer who wants to serve in the Marines:

CIS fellow David North wrote in a blog post yesterday entitled “That Handsome Illegal Wanting to be a Marine – Tell It to the President!” that Morales should just give up on a roadmap to citizenship. North grants that Morales is “handsome, and frankly admirable,” but argues that instead of fighting for citizenship, the DREAMer should push for the Pentagon take advantage of a loophole in federal code and allow him to serve in the military without granting him any sort of legal status.

“If the DREAMers really want to enlist, and feel thwarted, why aren't they demonstrating outside the Pentagon, or the White House?” he demands.

Remember that handsome, and frankly admirable, young illegal who wants to be a Marine? The one in the Mark Zuckerberg TV ad reported on by my colleague Jerry Kammer?

The impression from the ad is that the nation needs to pass the omnibus immigration "reform" bill so that he can enlist.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

There is no need for a 1,200-page piece of legislation, involving the admissions of millions of people a year as immigrants and nonimmigrants, to bring the young man and the Marines together.

The Secretary of Defense currently has the power, under law, to deem that it is "in the national interest" to issue a ruling allowing an illegal, or a bunch of them, to enlist in the services. The legal citation is here. So, if the DREAMers really want to enlist, and feel thwarted, why aren't they demonstrating outside the Pentagon, or the White House?

Steve King: 'Cantaloupes' Comment Just Like Complimenting Bodies of 'Olympic Athletes'

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) continued to defend his assertion that the vast majority of young undocumented immigrants are drug smugglers “with calves the size of cantaloupes,” telling Mike Huckabee today that his remarks were no different than complimenting the body of an Olympian.

The Iowa congressman said there was nothing inaccurate or wrong about his claim that “for every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another hundred out there who they weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” insisting that “if I offended anybody I didn’t do a very good job of it, but it should’ve been offensive perhaps to drug smugglers but no one else.”

“They’re not just making one trip across the border with 75 pounds of marijuana but it is multiple trips,” King said, “they’re in physical shape for that, just like you can see in an Olympic athlete, that would be obvious to us and I don’t think that would be denigrating.”

He went on to claim that immigration reform legislation “guarantees the permanent destruction of the rule of law, at least with regard to immigration, as far as I can imagine into the future.”

PFAW Releases Report on GOP’s Choice On Immigration: Stand With Reformers or Cave to Extremists

WASHINGTON – Will Republicans in Congress stand with the majority of their party and country in supporting comprehensive immigration reform, or will they stand with extremists attempting to derail the bipartisan momentum for reform?  That’s the choice exposed in a new report from People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch.

The report, Congressional Republicans’ Clear Choice on Immigration: Stand With Pro-Reform Majorities or Cave to Anti-Immigrant Extremists, details the strategies that have been used by the Right to block immigration reform and the defining choice Republicans face on immigration now as the national landscape shifts. PFAW Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery, the report’s author, documents the anti-immigration vitriol of far-right pundits and elected officials such as Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Senator Ted Cruz. Recent comments from the GOP’s far-right fringe – such as Rep. Steve King’s characterization of most young undocumented immigrants as drug runners with “calves the size of cantaloupes” from “hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert” – suggest that this fringe is not relenting as the national debate continues.

“There is new bipartisan momentum for immigration reform, and some Republicans are working to reposition the party in the minds of Latino voters,” the report notes. “But in order to make that possible, Republican officials will have to demonstrate that they are willing to face down the divisive extremists that many of them once cheered on.”

The full report is available at www.pfaw.org.

Peter Montgomery, Senior Fellow at People For the American Way, oversees the organization’s research and writing on the Religious Right.  He is available for comment on this report.

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