Republican Congressman Steve King is challenging Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack over the immigration issue. “I’d ask Governor Vilsack ‘Is there such a thing as too much illegal immigration?’…and if he doesn’t have a position on that, I’d suggest he doesn’t know where he’s taking us,” King says. King hosted forums last month to highlight the topic of illegal immigration and challenged Iowans to bring the issue up with presidential candidates. Since Vilsack is pondering a bid for the White House himself, King suggests the home state governor should get such a grilling, too. King says anybody who’s running for president should be “upfront” and “honest” about their stand on illegal immigration. King says Vilsack made immigration a front-burner issue himself when he first became governor back in 1999. “(Vilsack) said he wanted to be the Ellis Island of the Midwest and went to the federal government and said ‘Could you exempt us from your immigration laws so we can bring people in here from other countries because we need cheap labor?’ I don’t think his philosophy has changed that much,” King says. “What is his solution for this open border with 4,000 people a day flowing over our borders?” Under fire after pushing the policy of accepting immigrants into Iowa to boost the statewide workforce, Vilsack later signed a bill passed by the Republican-led legislature that declared English as Iowa’s official language for government transactions. Then, in 2004, Vilsack said he wanted Democrats to regain control of the Legislature so they’d repeal that law. There are no position papers or articles about immigration on Vilsack’s campaign-related website, www.heartlandpac.org. In January of 2001, Vilsack said the kind of “diversity” that comes from legal immigration adds to our state’s “economic wealth.” A spokesman for the governor did not respond to a request for comment.
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