Congressman Must Apologize for Immigration Slurs after Boston Bombing

Target: Representative Steve King (R-IA)

Goal: Request apology from Representative Steve King for remarks made opposing immigration reform due to the Boston Marathon bombing.

After the terrible bombings that took place during the Boston Marathon – where three were killed and 183 more were injured – the nation was forced to reconcile with terrorism once again. While many used this opportunity to show support and sympathy for those affected by the tragedy, some used the incident to further their own political agendas. Among these is Steve King, U.S. Representative for Iowa’s 4th congressional district, who claimed the incident justified his opposition to immigration reform. Sign this petition and urge Representative King to apologize for exploiting the tragedy in Boston for political purposes.

Less than 24 hours after the bombing occurred and days before the Boston suspects were identified and captured, Representative King said, “Some of the speculation that has come out is that yes, it was a foreign national and, speculating here, that it was potentially a person on a student visa…If that’s the case, then we need to take a look at the big picture.” His remarks are consistent with his long history of opposing immigration reform, and his decision to emphasize immigration directly after the tragedy reveals his unwavering prejudice against beneficial change. In addition, it is offensive that a political leader chose to marginalize thousands of people by prematurely assuming a foreign national was responsible for the attack.

As it turned out, the terrorists responsible for the bombings were, in fact, legal U.S. citizens. Representative King’s speculation shifted a negative focus to immigration, where it ought not have been, and distracted concerned citizens from the real issues at hand. Even fellow Republican representatives, such as Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl), cautioned those who linked the tragedy to the immigration debate.

Even more concerning is that Representative King made this statement without legitimate evidence to support it. His speculation stemmed from a case of racial profiling immediately following the attack, where a student of Saudi nationality was followed and tackled by bystanders because he fled the scene of the crime, as hundreds of others did. In response to this, King said, “We need to go far deeper into our border crossings…We need to take a look at the visa-waiver program and wonder what we’re doing. If we can’t background check people that are coming from Saudi Arabia, how do we think we are going to background check the 11 to 20 million people that are here from who knows where.” The student was in no way connected to the bombings.

Using the attack in Boston to justify opposition to immigration reform is embarrassing. Had the terrorists been foreign nationals, his remarks would still be offensive to the many immigrants that are successful, hardworking, and contributing members of this country. Immigration reform can benefit this country by closing dangerous loopholes in the existing system, and most would like to see positive changes in the future. Reform is often necessary, and in this case, it would be best if Representative King would reform his ignorance and apologize for his statement.


Dear Representative Steve King (R-IA),

You recently gave an interview to the National Review Online where you used the tragic attacks during the Boston Marathon to justify your opposition to immigration reform. These remarks were not only made in ignorance, as the terrorists were legal U.S. citizens, but they shifted the focus of conversation to immigration where it should not have been. This is incredibly embarrassing, and it is also an insult to the many who successfully immigrated to the United States and are contributing members to our society.

While many prejudiced conservatives will inhale these biased statements and use them as reason to hate immigration reform, most people can see through this ignorance, including many of your fellow Republican leaders. The terrorist attack did not concern immigration reform, something that could close potentially dangerous loopholes in the existing system, and it is entirely inappropriate and offensive that you exploited a terrible tragedy to further your political agenda. Please issue a statement of apology for making these remarks.


[Your Name Here]


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