GOP Congressman: Most “Dreamers” Are Drug Runners


Iowa Republican Congressman, and fervent opponent of pretty much any immigration reform, set off a firestorm late yesterday when he compared children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents to drug runners:

In an interview with the conservative website Newsmax, the anti-immigration crusader was asked about “amnesty” and the DREAM Act, which would give undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children a path to permanent residency.The Iowa congressman had this to say about “DREAMers”:

Some of them are valedictorians — and their parents brought them in. It wasn’t their fault. It’s true in some cases, but they aren’t all valedictorians. They weren’t all brought in by their parents. For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.

Of course, King has absolutely no proof for this disgusting, prejudiced statement. (Then again, one wonders what constitutes proof for a congressman who thinks snow disproves global warming.) As the Immigration Policy Center points out, using data from the census, the Pew Hispanic Center and the FBI, crime rates have fallen in the United States as the immigrant population (legal and illegal) has increased.

King’s remarks were almost immediately condemned by Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, but that didn’t stop King from doubling down on his comments this morning:

Rep. Steve King is defending his remarks that drew criticism from his own party leadership that the children of some immigrants were being used as drug mules.

“It’s not something that I’m making up,” King told Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson. “This is real. We have people that are mules, that are drug mules, that are hauling drugs across the border and you can tell by their physical characteristics what they’ve been doing for months, going through the desert with 75 pounds of drugs on their back and if those who advocate for the DREAM Act, if they choose to characterize this about valedictorians, I gave them a different image that we need to be thinking about because we just simply can’t be passing legislation looking only at one component of what would be millions of people.”

The Iowa Republican said the possibility of legalizing valedictorians wasn’t worth also legalizing drug smugglers.

“There are valedictorians in this group and my heart goes out to them, but not to the point where I’d sacrifice the rule of law and legalize a lot of bad elements in the process,” King said.

“As much sympathy as I have for especially the valedictorians, but some of them are not capable of being valedictorians and they should have some of our sympathy, too. But as much sympathy as we have for them, we cannot sacrifice the rule of law,” he added. “Our sympathy should not outweigh the rule of law, so we should not deconstruct America because the way that some of these kids have been characterized pulls at our heartstrings.”

Keep working on the Hispanic outreach, GOP!

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, US Politics, , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Neil Hudelson says:

    At no point in the initial paragraphs does this post mention that it was Steve King…and yet somehow I already knew.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    But remember…it’s white men who are discriminated against…it’s white men who are the victims here.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    Was Steve King a valedictorian?

  4. legion says:

    …and most Republicans are sociopathic greedheads who just get into politics to parasitically scam money.

  5. David M says:

    And just the other day, someone was complaining that we weren’t automatically giving Steve King the benefit of the doubt when he said something else stupid.

  6. John Peabody says:


  7. Pinky says:

    I’m thinking about the South Park episode with John Edward and The Biggest Douche in the Universe award for some reason.

  8. Caj says:

    Steve King is as ugly on the inside as he is on the outside. There are many in the party who think just like him and more than happy that he’s out there saying the most despicable things about Latinos and others! Their big rebranding push lasted all of two seconds!! The Republican Party don’t want to rebrand, that’s who they are and always will be. Only way to rid the country of this kind of scum is at the ballot box. We don’t need vile people like that having anything to do with making policy in our country.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    Once again – where do Republicans find these people? And why?

  10. Matt Bernius says:

    Is anyone honestly surprised that Steve King (the presumptive Senate Candidate in Iowa) said this?

    I mean this is only a step past what he said a few weeks ago:

    Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, took the lead for stalwart opponents of any legislation that could lead to what they view as amnesty. “You can’t separate the Dream Act kids from those who came across the border with a pack of contraband on their back, and they can’t tell me how they can do that,” Mr. King said, referring to the undocumented immigrants brought here by their parents as young children and known as “Dreamers.”

    And as I said then, this stuff is definitely *not helpful* in the GOP’s Hispanic hearts and mind campaign.

    Of course, at that point, a number of commenters here rushed to King’s defense. I’m looking forward to explanations about how we’re misinterpreting Steve King’s latest comments.

  11. @C. Clavin: He attended Northwest Missouri State University before dropping out, so probably no.

  12. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    the presumptive Senate Candidate in Iowa

    King has stated that he will not seek the Senate nomination in Iowa. I suspect that decision was made with the “assistance” of party leadership.

    In other words, we’ll break your legs if you try to run. He would be bad for them in a statewide contest, especially against Braley (who is all but certain to be the Dem nominee), and they know it.

  13. Matt Bernius says:

    Thanks for the correction. I had not read that. I’m a little surprised by the news, but at least it speaks to the fact that the Republicans are not going to repeat the same mistakes of the last two Senate Election cycles.

  14. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    That remains to be seen. They are honestly at a loss for a viable candidate for Harkin’s seat, IMO. Since King got moved to a new, more Dem district, he’s more vulnerable and I suspect will focus on trying to keep his seat. The Dems will be gunning for him, and he knows it.

    The three names that have been bandied around are:

    Joni Ernst – a state senator who slid into office in a special election, and who is so unknown even in IA that Brent Oleson popped up a Facebook posting saying he’d never heard of her.

    Matt Schulz, IA’s Secretary of State – He’s arguably to the right of King, and has the same unfortunate (for the GOP) tendency to open his mouth and let stupid pop out. Assuming he runs for re-election (his first re-election race ever) as SoS, he’s likely to lose to Anderson.

    Matt Whitaker – former US Attorney who has never won elected office, bad name recognition.

    The candidate that they want IMO, Tom Latham, has been pretty steadfast in refusing to run, so they don’t really have many good options.

  15. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Why the kerfuffle?

    For the GOTea, this is not a bug, it’s a feature.

    They have decided to double-down on the white vote, right? That was the story a few days back.

    And, I can hear them now… Planning their 2016 win…

    Hedley Lamarr: I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers, and Methodists!

    (… that’s Hedley.)

  16. JohnMcC says:

    @HarvardLaw92: In reference to that new district:

    “A poll being released later Wednesday by the American Action Network shows that 68% of voters in Iowa’s fourth congressional district supports an ‘earned pathway to legal status’ while 65% support ‘an earned pathway to citizenship'”.

    “Of the Republican voters in King’s district, 70% back a path to legal status while 51% back a path to citizenship.”

    Which leads to the question of who exactly Mr King thinks are his constituents? Obviously, he’s getting some sort of positive strokes for these amazing statements. Could it be that he actually represents the conservative entertainment complex? We report; you decide.

    (And please note — “immgiration” is the spelling that Politico used in the link. If I’d “sic’d” it, the link wouldn’t have linked.)

  17. Matt Bernius says:


    Which leads to the question of who exactly Mr King thinks are his constituents?

    The key metric missing from that polling is “republicans likely to vote in the primary.” One has to wonder about how they might sway things.

    That said, you’re also assuming that King is a *smart* politician. It’s entirely possible he’s just sticking with the strategy and ideas that worked for him in the past.