Rep. Steve King (R., Iowa) Compares Immigrants To Dogs

Steve King has been the leader of the anti-immigrant caucus on Capitol Hill, so it’s not surprising to hear him say this:

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), arguably the most conservative member of the House, was chatting to small crowd in Pocahontas, Iowa the other day, laying out his vision for picking good immigrants from the bad ones.

The comparison that sprung to mind: Dog breeding.

“You want a good bird dog? You want one that’s going to be aggressive? Pick the one that’s the friskiest … not the one that’s over there sleeping in the corner,” King said, according to Salon’sAlex Seitz-Wald, citing video captured by an American Bridge tracker.

King suggested lazy immigrants should be avoided as well. “You get the pick of the litter and you got yourself a pretty good bird dog. Well, we’ve got the pick of every donor civilization on the planet,” King said. “We’ve got the vigor from the planet to come to America.”

This will help with the Hispanic outreach in the GOP, no doubt.


FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Campaign 2012, Congress, Quick Takes, 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. Vast Variety says:

    This guy makes me ashamed of my state sometimes.

  2. Hey Norm says:

    This guy is a leader in the party. What a f’ed up party.

  3. Jeremy says:

    If this guy is the #2 conservative in the House, who is #1?

  4. Tsar Nicholas says:

    At the risk of defending King — most definitely not a favorite of mine — you actually have to watch and listen to that video and not rely on the agenda-driven commentary by that Salon writer.

    King is not comparing immigrants to dogs. He’s not comparing illegal immigrants to dogs. He’s using an unfortunate analogy, yes, but that Salon-derived piece simply is not a fair one.

    What King is trying say, albeit inartfully and certainly not in a PC fashion, is that legal immigrants are among the best and the brightest members of U.S. society. Granted, you could take the negative implication of that and then surmise that King also is saying illegal immigrants are the worst and the dullest members of U.S. society, but that too would require somewhat of a logical leap. Perhaps comments made right before or immediately after what’s shown in that video would shed some additional light. We don’t know that, however, one way or the other, because the video ends.

    Rule of thumb when it comes to left-wing accounts of right-wing comments: Verify, don’t trust. Rule of thumb when it comes to immigration-related comments by hard right politicians: Don’t trust, but at least try to be fair.

  5. Jeremy says:

    @Jeremy: Whoops, thought it said “arguably the second most conservative man in the House.” Reading fail.

  6. Setting aside the dehumanizing nature of the analogy, wouldn’t “the frisky ones” be the ones risking life and limb to get here no matter what xenophobes like King say rather than the ones who just passively wait in line for someone to give them permission to try for a better life?

  7. al-Ameda says:

    With people like Steve King in Congress you can understand why the Republican House has a
    public approval rating of approximately 10%. In fact it makes you wonder why it’s that high.

  8. Gromitt Gunn says:
  9. rodney dill says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Well said.

  10. Meanwhile, at the other end of Redneckistan, NC pastor calls for all homosexuals to be put into death camps:

  11. pbrower2a says:


    Let’s not use the word “conservative” as a euphemism for “fascist” or “reactionary”.

    It will eventually be time to offer a moderate alternative to liberal excesses and folly, and that alternative will be rational and free of demagoguery.

    Unfortunately the current alternative to liberal excess or folly is political madness.