The House’s most vocal opponent of immigration reform faced off with filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, with Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) telling the guest host for Piers Morgan that there are a lot of jobs more back-breaking than picking crops.
Spurlock, who released Super Size Me about McDonald’s in 2004, tried his hand as a farm worker in Polk County, Fla., for his CNN series Inside Man.
“You know, I’ve done a lot of work that’s worse than picking oranges. And I didn’t have to be a migrant person to do that, but I spent my life in the construction business. I started out on the pipeline. And, you know, when you get out of the ditch and you get a chance to run alongside it on a side boom, that’s a pretty good day,” King told Spurlock on Saturday.
“So I know what it’s like to work up through this. We have worked in temperatures, heat indexes of 126 above and 60 below zero. And my sons will all tell you that. And we’re in the second generation of the construction business. So, a lot of times they’d like to pick some oranges compared to what they might have been doing,” he added.
The congressman disputed the argument that immigrants take jobs Americans don’t want, saying “there are 100 million Americans that are of working age that are simply not in the workforce.”
“One of the reasons that they’re not lining up is because we have 80 different means- tested federal welfare programs and if you add that all up together, it almost is a guarantee of a cradle-to-grave middle class standard of living,” King said. “That’s a big mistake to have a policy like that that would have that many people not necessarily in the shadows, but people that are not in the workforce that should be.”
King said “the universe of young people who are brought here without knowledge that they were breaking the law by their parents, that’s the most sympathetic group” in the immigration reform bill sent to the House.
“Other than those who have committed felonies, and those who have committed these three mysterious misdemeanors, other than that when you set those off to the side, everyone else that’s in the United States illegally gets to stay, and anybody that comes in the future, it’s a promise that they will not have the law applied against them either. And it sends an invitation to those out who were deported in past which is we really didn’t mean it, reapply, you can come back to the United States if you didn’t commit the felonies,” he said.
“And so, it is a perpetual and retroactive amnesty which destroys rule of law in America, at least with regard to immigration. It’s a very high price to pay for a piece of sympathy in our heart that we all have.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has vowed that the lower chamber will build reform piece by piece instead of voting on the Group of Eight bill. King got scolded by Boehner last week for saying that many young people considered DREAMers were acting as drug mules.
“For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that they weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. Those people would be legalized with the same act,” King told Newsmax.
On CNN, King stood by his statement as “utterly true.”
“I just wanted to make the point if we’re going to waive the rule of law because some of them are valedictorians, we ought to also understand those who are smuggling drugs into the country would also have the law waived on them and we would be legalizing a lot of folks that are regular drug smugglers,” he said.
“By the way, that physical description wasn’t mine. That’s the physical description of a group of Border Patrol agents I sat with way into the night and had a long conversation about what they’re enforcing the law against.”