Congressman Steve King says fellow Republicans who are pushing immigration reform are misinterpreting the results of the 2012 election.
“The people that are for some version of let me say ‘waiving immigration law’…they have always been that way and now they are political opportunists,” King says. “For me, I’ve taken the oath to uphold the constitution and that includes the rule of law and I don’t want to reward people for breaking the law.”
Some Republicans point to President Obama’s success in winning 71 percent of Latino voters and suggest the GOP needs to moderate its stance on immigration, or risk losing Latino voters by even larger margins in future elections. King rejects that argument.
“There’s no argument that I think holds up that election results would have changed if there’d been a different posture on the part of Mitt Romney or if we’d passed the legislation that’s being advocated now,” King says.
King opposed Republican President George W. Bush’s push to give illegal immigrants a “path to citizenship.” King argues that rewards people for breaking the law.
“In the center this, the American people want the rule of law respected and if you reward lawbreakers, you’re going to get more lawbreakers,” King says. “That’s just how it is and we learned that from the 1986 Amnesty Act that was signed by Ronald Reagan, one of only about two times that he let me down.”
King says Republicans can “moderate” their tone when talking about minorities, including Latinos, but King says the GOP should “reject identity politics.”
“We can’t compromise principle for political expediency,” King says.
King made his comments this morning during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa. ( Listen: KingJanuary23 mp3 runs 3 minutes.)
The Pew Hispanic Center estimates about two percent of eligible Iowa voters are Latino. President Obama would have won the state of Iowa even if all the Latino voters here had voted for Romney. In gauging the general public’s appetite for immigration reform, exit poll data shows 65 percent of all U.S. voters said undocumented immigrants should be given a chance to apply for citizenship.