Target: Iowa Representative Steve King
Goal: Apologize for ignorant and prejudiced statements about undocumented immigrants
Representative Steve King of Iowa said in a televised interview that “for every one [undocumented immigrant] who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” King uses offensive and prejudiced reasoning to justify his opposition to the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act, which would allow undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. when they were young to receive special legal status. He categorizes the 350,000 potential DREAMers as drug traffickers rather than as potential law-abiding citizens who strive for better life opportunities. If passed, the DREAM act would provide conditional permanent residency to certain immigrants of good moral character who arrived in the US as minors and graduated from US high schools.
Even prominent members of the Republican party such as House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Representative Eric Cantor publicly denounced King’s statements. Boehner stated “these children were brought [to the U.S.] at no accord of their own and frankly they’re in a very difficult position…what [King] said is wrong. There can be honest disagreements about policy without using hateful language.” Cantor expressed strong disagreement to King’s “characterization of the children and find[s] the comments inexcusable.” Yet King appears unperturbed by the censure he received by his fellow party members. He reappeared on another televised interview and proclaimed that he stands by his comments; he states that they are “utterly true” and that “100 is probably a low number.”
Dozens of studies show that immigrants do not increase crime rates. An FBI report found while the number of unauthorized immigrants tripled between 1990 and 2010, the crime rate declined not only nationally but also in border cities and other cities with large immigrant populations such as Los Angeles, New York and Miami. A different study by University of California, Irvine found that incarceration rates among young men are lowest for immigrants, even those who are the least educated. Representative King cannot be allowed to make sweeping and offensive statements about undocumented immigrants. He needs to be held accountable for his hateful words by apologizing to the public. By signing the petition below, you will demand that Representative King apologize for his prejudice and that he think twice before making such inflammatory remarks.
Dear Representative Steve King,
The accusations you publicly made about undocumented immigrants are offensive, racist, and untrue. There is a sweeping amount of evidence that goes directly against your claims. Your remarks are not only contested by Democrats but also by your fellow Republicans such as House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Representative Eric Cantor.
We demand that you publicly apologize for your problematic “reasoning” for contesting the DREAM Act. These young immigrants who are looking for better life opportunities do not deserve to be debased as drug mules. To paraphrase Rep. Joe Garcia, the use of inflammatory language does not progress the country. Your comments are “beneath the dignity of this body and this country.” As a political figure, it is your duty to lead by example, not to broadcast ignorant and prejudiced opinions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: U.S. Congress via Wikimedia Commons