Iowa Congressman Steve King is leading opposition to the push to pass some sort of immigration reform through the U.S. House.
“Legalization is amnesty, is citizenship eventually and if we do anything like that, then this perpetual amnesty that has already passed the senate — and it looks like there are members in the House that support it — then we can never control our borders again,” he said during an interview early this evening with Radio Iowa.
King and other Republicans in the U.S. House met privately this afternoon to discuss the issue.
“I did have an opportunity to speak. It wasn’t in the time of the meeting when I thought it should have been,” King said. “The leadership and the committee chairs spoke for a full hour explaining their agenda and their bills before any member was allowed to step up to the microphone and speak, so the inertia of the meeting was already set…For me, it was an hour and 50 minutes of waiting for one-minute-and-30-seconds to speak and I made all the points that I could.”
King suggested House Republican leaders may have been able to sway newer House members who were undecided on the issue and King suggested the ground may be shifting on the issue.
“I think there’s a good, solid core of members that say, ‘No legalization of any kind because we know that is amnesty and it turns into citizenship. We can’t be rewarding people that broke the law. Let’s reward the people that honor our laws,'” King told Radio Iowa. “I think there’s a good, solid core of that, but I wouldn’t be confident that we have enough people on our side of this to prevent what would be perpetual amnesty.”
Some Republicans argue the GOP will continue to lose ground with the growing ranks of Latino and other minority votes if Republicans in the House kill immigration reform. The bipartisan immigration reform plan that cleared the U.S. Senate last month calls for a so-called “border surge” that would send thousands of additional federal agents to the U.S./Mexican border. House leaders have suggested passing a bill that only deals with that issue is possible, King doesn’t think that’s necessary.
“We’re spending over $6.5 million a mile on our southern border right now and that’s plenty of money to secure the border,” King said. “If they would give me Janet Napolitano’s job, the budget that she has and a president who didn’t tie my hands, in three years I’d be up into the 99th percentile of the border security that we would have.”
One alternative under consideration in the House is for Republicans to pass a series of bills related to different parts of the immigration debate — like a bill offering citizenship to young adults who were brought into the country illegally, when they were children. King not only opposes a single, “comprehensive” immigration reform bill, but he opposes any effort from his fellow Republicans to make changes in any federal immigration policies.
“I don’t think that there’s a need to try to pass more legislation,” King said. “This is an executive problem of a president who refuses to enforce the law and honor his own oath of office. It’s not something that the legislature can fix. Any law that we would pass, he can just do like he’s done with ObamaCare and just refuse to enforce it.”
The Obama Administration recently announced it was delaying a requirement that large employers provide health insurance for full-time employees or pay a penalty.
White House officials released a report Wednesday, suggesting immigration reform is an “economic and national security imperative.”