Congressman Steve King says the immigration raid at the meatpacking plant in Postville was the "right thing to do" and King vows to keep pushing for a broader government crackdown on illegal immigrants.
Last May, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents swept into the Postville plant and arrested more than three-hundred workers, many of whom were accused of identity theft as well as immigration violations.
Some plant managers face charges as well. "The raid had to be done and if we’re not willing to enforce the law then those kinds of things would go on and they would expand…The people that have been critical of the Postville raids have generally not been able to define how they would go about enforcing the law in circumstances like that," King says. "I think that ICE…looked ahead and they covered a lot of contingencies…and I think the law had to be enforced, so it was a good thing in the long run."
King is the top-ranking Republican on a House subcommittee on immigration, and King says he will keep pressing for action to reduce the number of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. "I do have to carry that banner and I do so willingly," King says. "I’m going to stand and defend the rule of law. I don’t intend to provide amnesty."
According to King, there’s been no direction from the top as neither party’s presidential candidate talked about the issue during the campaign. King says immigration seems to have lost its "potency" as an issue, partly because there are fewer jobs for illegal immigrants, due to the recession.
"The economy has made a difference. The enforcement has made a difference. I saw some data that’s a little bit dated now, but from last August to the previous August, we had 1.3 million that self-deported," King says. "…I think that it will keep coming back to us because we have so much lawlessness on the south side of the border. The Mexicans are very unstable and it’s spilling over on our side of the border and I think that will be the next eruption of immigration."
King made his comments on this weekend’s Iowa Public Television program, "Iowa Press."