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Iowa Watchdog

Senate Democrats to hold immigration forum in King’s district

7/29/2013

DES MOINES – Senators Tom Harkin and Dick Durbin, both Democrats, will hold an immigration forum Friday to discuss the DREAM Act with Iowans.

Harkin spokesoman Kate Cyrul Frischmann declined to comment as to whether the event was in response to incendiary remarks made by Iowa Rep. Steve King over the past week in relation to the DREAM Act, which offers illegal immigrants under age 35 a path to citizenship.

Senators Tom Harkin and Dick Durbin will hold an immigration forum in Ames Friday.

Senators Tom Harkin and Dick Durbin will hold an immigration forum in Ames Friday.

She also wouldn’t comment as to why they are holding the event in Iowa or Ames, which is in King’s district.

So far, his constituents haven’t shown an outpouring of outrage over the comments. Top House Republicans, however, have been quick to condemn him. King hasn’t shown remorse for the comments and has instead defended them.

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During an interview last week on CNN, King said, “You know, you only get one valedictorian per class per year. And they aren’t all dreamers. And a lot of other American kids out here that are competing for that valedictorian status. But every night there are dozens and scores of people that are smuggling drugs across our border…This isn’t something that just was made up out of thin air. This is something I get from the people enforcing the law down on the border.”

On Fox News, he added, “I got a call from them (border control agents), and I said, ‘Did I need to come back down and refresh myself?’ They said, ‘No, you’re spot on with what you’re saying but maybe you got the weight ten pounds up.’ ”

The controversy stemmed from King’s initial remarks made during an interview about two weeks ago in which he said, “For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

The forum Friday will feature DREAMers from Iowa, farmers and small business that support the Senate’s approach to immigration reform. It’s scheduled for 10 a.m., although organizers have yet to find a location.

Durbin, from Illinois, authored the DREAM Act, while Harkin, from Iowa, has been an ardent supporter of reform efforts.

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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