Iowa Rep. Steve King carried on a lengthy conversation Friday about illegal immigration at the nation’s southern border, warning his constituents about the dangers of young men coming into the country.
Citing data King said he received three years ago, he told the crowd at the Franklin County Courthouse, “81% of those that were interdicted coming across the border were young males, and I would call them ‘prime gang age recruitment males.'”
“How do you sort the violent ones out from the ones that are going to be the victims?” asked King, a Republican representing Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. “Sometimes they’re a victim one day and perpetrating violence the next day.”
King, who will face a primary challenge in 2020, is infamous for incendiary remarks, particularly on race and immigrants.
It was his statement to the New York Times in January — “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? — that prompted House leadership to revoke his committee assignments.
To pass the time without committee work, King has recruited conservative commentators “Diamond and Silk” to help promote his legislative agenda.
And lately, King has sparred with liberal New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, challenging her comparison of detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border to concentration camps. Last week, he encouraged the freshman Democrat to tour Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps during Congress’ summer recess, prompting Ocasio-Cortez to accuse King and the “far right” of manipulating a humanitarian crisis at the border “for political gain.”
Also at his town hall meeting in Hampton, King criticized the Democratic presidential candidates for their answers on immigration during debates this week, decrying their support for “open borders.”
“Why wouldn’t people come to America?” King asked. “Especially when we’re having presidential debates where you have people say there’s going to be free education and free health care and citizenship to anybody that can get into America, legally or illegally.”
By Elizabeth Meyer