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Steve King on immigrants: ‘We are all God’s children’

U.S. Rep. Steve King sat down with journalist Lorena Lopez of Iowa’s LA PRENSA Hispanic newspaper and provided an in-depth view on his immigration stance.

King said that he really doesn’t think much about race or ethnicity, but considers each person as an individual.

“I think we are all God’s children. We are created in his image, and our Founding Fathers made it very clear in the original documents that our rights come from God,” King said when asked for his thoughts on the fact that Denison, the town where he grew up, now has a Latino population in excess of 40 percent.

Acknowledging that he wasn’t aware of the exact population percentage, King added that when he discusses the community, he most often speaks about the economic activity and community development — like the community’s new hospital, or the good jobs that have drawn people there.

It’s a mistake and socialist in nature, he said, for the nation to divide into multi-cultural groups. That’s something his grandparents, immigrants from Germany, understood, he said, when they instructed their children attending school to bring home the English language to them, and in the other ways that they immersed themselves into larger American culture. Doing such things, he said, contributes to the exceptionalism of America.

King agrees that there are aspects of Latino culture — their religious oppositions to same-sex marriage and to abortion, for instance — that could push Hispanic voters to support Republicans. He also recognizes that some Republican beliefs regarding immigration could be pushing the community away from the GOP.

“There are people in this country who are exploiting and creating a division for political benefit,” he said.

Democrats, said King, specifically citing an exchange between the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy and a group of immigrant demonstrators, are pushing for amnesty of those who have entered the country illegally, and they are doing so in hopes of bolstering support from that demographic at the ballot box.

“America is too important to set aside our laws for political benefit,” he said. “Suspending the law, undermines the rule of law. … The rule of law, the respect for the law, is sacrosanct. It is a precious component, as important as freedom of speech, religion or the press. So, we have our laws and they have to be enforced. If people are rewarded for breaking the law, you get more law-breakers. I want far fewer law-breakers. That’s my position on this.

“But we should remember that America is the most generous country in the world for legal immigration. And we should remember that Teddy Kennedy and other members of his party have conflated the two terms immigration and illegal immigration. They use those terms interchangeably on purpose because they want a political advantage for rewarding law-breakers. I want a country that respects the law, and I’m willing to take some risks politically for that reason because I think it is that important.”

King brushed aside questions on whether or not he would support immigration reforms, indicating the term “has a lot of different meanings.”

What he doesn’t support, he said, is “going out and searching for people and rounding them up.”

“I’ve never been for that,” he added. “I believe that we have to deal with the enforcement of the law when we encounter people.”

LA PRENSA readers, who might have been offended or hurt by past statements he has made — for instance, when he equated immigrants to farm animals on the floor of the U.S. House — simply need to speak with him personally, and get to know him better.

“I want people to draw their own conclusions. Let’s get to know each other. Come look me in the eye and let’s have these conversations,” King said. “[There are] people who are trying to cause trouble, and remember that there are people out there who are paid to do that. They are paid to attack me. That’s part of the American civilization. So remember that some of those people, who are saying those things, not only are they being paid to say them, but if they say a kind word about me they would be fired. So let’s always evaluate the messenger.”

The interview with Lopez is embedded below:

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