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Iowa Watchdog

Iowa groups says Steve King must go

7/29/2013

DES MOINES – A coalition of Latino advocacy groups are seeking the ouster of Iowa U.S. Rep. Steve King from an immigration and border control subcommittee after his recent inflammatory remarks against illegal immigrants, according to officials from the groups.

U.S. Rep. Steve King faces petition drive to remove him from House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.

U.S. Rep. Steve King faces petition drive to remove him from House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.

Presente.org, CREDO, DRM Action Coalition and other unnamed organizations, all of which have Iowa ties, collected more than 40,000 signatures to have King removed from the subcommittee, which plays a key part in immigration reform.

Speaker of the House John Boehner will receive the signatures electronically.

If immediate action isn’t taken, members of the group will deliver it in person, said Gabriele Gracia, campaign director for Presente.org.

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“People have been outraged at King’s constant statements,” Gracia said. “What’s different this time around is that House leadership is responding quickly to Republicans who step out of line. It shows that they are really concerned after the election and the overwhelming support of Democrats from Latinos.”

“Now is the real chance to push back on King,” she added.

The petition drive came in response to comments King made last week in regards to the DREAM Act that would allow a path for citizenship to illegal immigrants under 35 years old, most of whom were brought by their parents.

“For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” King said in an interview.

House leadership, including Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, have been quick to condemn the remarks, while King has defended them.

Ranking members on the subcommittee, including Rep. Jim Jordan, of Ohio, and Trent Franks, of Arizona, did not respond to requests for comment.

Iowa Watchdog wasn’t immediately able to find out Friday whether members of committees have been ousted over remarks made or what the process to do so would entail.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, didn’t condemn King’s remarks in a Friday statement to Iowa Watchdog. Instead, he said they detracted from the debate of immigration reform.

“The immigration debate before Congress right now is an important and worthy discussion, and it brings heated rhetoric on all sides of the issue that I would advise against,” the statement said. “But, we’re losing sight of the big picture. If it’s about Congressman King or any individual member of Congress, we’re going to lose the battle of real reform. We need to focus on fixing a big problem before the country and finding a solution that first and foremost secures the border.”

Contact Sheena Dooley at dooley@iowawatchdog.org. Sheena Dooley is the Iowa bureau chief for Watchdog.org, where this story first appeared.

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