As the GOP reviews its losses on Tuesday, some prominent Republicans have begun to call for action on immigration reform as a way to make inroads with Hispanic voters who overwhelmingly supported President Obama’s reelection. Republican Congressman Steve King has been a vocal opponent of what he calls “amnesty” and he cautions against overreacting to Republican losses in 2012.
“This election, even though we didn’t win across the country, that doesn’t mean that our values aren’t sound,” King says. “We need to go back to the table, reassess these things and stand on the same principles and they should be very attractive, especially to Hispanic families who are strong on faith. They’re strong pro-life. They’re strong on marriage. They’re strong on the work ethic and there are a whole lot of good Hispanic entrepreneurs that I think should naturally migrate to the Republican Party.”
However, King expects a coalition to emerge that will advance a bill that would extend citizenship to those who entered the country illegally.
“We will see ‘open borders’ Republicans team up with Democrats to try to do some things to resolve what they call ‘comprehensive immigration reform,’” King says. “We know that that always includes a component of amnesty, so we’ll be back to discussing this again about the rule of law and I’ll be fighting to defend the rule of law.”
Hispanic voters have long tended to support Democratic candidates, but the trend sharpened after Republicans like King helped kill President Georege W. Bush’s attempt to enact immigration reform. Just 27 percent of Hispanic voters support Mitt Romney in Tuesday’s election. No other Republican candidate in the past 16 years has had less support from Hispanics.
This summer President Obama earned praise from Hispanics for an executive order that gives those who entered the country illegally when they were under the age of 16 protection from deportation if they’re enrolled in school or enter the military. Congressman King has threatened for months to file a lawsuit challenging the president’s executive order.
“It’s something that I had to suspend for the last three weeks or so, because we couldn’t get it together before the election,” King says. “so I need to get back to Washington and get those pieces back together and see where we are.”
King says it’s his intention to file the lawsuit by the end of November. King made his comments on the Iowa Public Television program “Iowa Press” which will be rebroadcast Sunday at noon.