Representative Steve King: The Face Of Toxic Bigotry In Washington [Op-Ed]

COMMENTARY | Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) is at it again. Recently, King stated that he was against immigration reform and the DREAM Act. Why? He claims, dubiously, that most immigrants — teens, in particular — are merely drug mules.

His original comments are coming under heavy fire from both the left and the right. Even big Republicans are calling Representative King out. As reported by The Hill, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) have said King’s comments were “wrong” and “inexcusable.”

What did he say that’s got everyone upset? Last week King said in an interview that “for every [immigrant minor] who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there … hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

Wolf Blitzer asked whether the congressman wanted to take these comments back when he appeared on CNN Wednesday. In a moment of classic Steve King, the representative doubled down on his claims. Apparently he is a first hand expert on drug smuggling. King claims that “every night there are dozens … smuggling drugs across our border. I’ve been down there multiple times. I’ve sat along the border at night.”

Apparently he has patted down each person passing through, too? It begs the question: If King is such an expert on marijuana being smuggled into the US, he’s probably staked out the Canadian border too, right?

No, Representative Steve King’s statements are nothing but toxic bigotry. These claims about drug running are foolish on several counts, including the joke that is the so-called “War on Drugs,” the fact that marijuana in the US now largely comes from within our borders and Canada, and the general problem that comes with using anecdotal data as evidence. His reasoning for being against any type of immigration reform does not stand up to a serious look.

But more than that it shows Representative Steve King is still a racist. Even if these were the first of such comments, as Speaker Boehner says, “There can be honest disagreements about policy without using hateful language.”

They aren’t though. King has shown that xenophobia guides his actions, again and again. In 2008 he remarked that Barack Obama winning the presidency would be seen as a victory for “radical Islamists” who would be “dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11.”

As a representative of a group of people who have kept him in office since 2003, is Steve King a lone wolf? His brand of unashamed bigotry continues to circulate in the body politic, regardless of condemnations from his fellow party members. Representative Steve King continues to get re-elected and supported by the Republican party — is this not an endorsement of his racist views?

His unfounded, unreasoned bigotry serves no purpose but to slow important immigration reform measures desperately needed by 11 million people in the US; most of whom, regardless of what Steve King says, are contributing members of society.

[Image via via photopin cc]