If Republicans wonder why they are losing the Latino vote, they should consider comments like Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) latest sentiment comparing immigrants to hunting dogs.
King on Monday told a crowd in Pocahontas, Iowa that the U.S. should only allow the “pick of the litter” when selecting immigrants.
“You put out a beacon like the Statue of Liberty and who comes here?” the lawmaker asked. “The most vigorous from every country that has donated legal immigrants to the United States of America. We got the cream of the crop.”
“You want a good bird dog? You want one that’s going to be aggressive? Pick the one that’s the friskiest, the one that’s going to be engaged the most, not the one that’s over there sleeping in the corner. … You get the pick of the litter and you got yourself a pretty good bird dog.”
Speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) earlier this year, King made a similar point but without the hunting dog analogy.
“We’re seeing efforts to subdivide our culture and our civilization,” he said. “I think we need to have an immigration policy that selects those who can contribute the most to society. … The United States should have an immigration policy designed to enhance the economic, the social and the cultural well-being of that nation.”
Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack, who is a Democrat running against King, told Salon that the Republican congressman should be engaged in a “serious discussion” about immigration instead of comparing people to dogs.
“If we’re going to have a real discussion on immigration, we should start by acknowledging that immigrants are human beings,” Vilsack’s campaign said in a statement. “Iowans are taught in their community, in their church, and at the dinner table to respect each other, not to compare people to dogs. People expect a serious discussion between candidates and that’s what we’re committed to.”
An April NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed President Barack Obama with a lead over presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney among Latinos, 69 percent to 22 percent. An ABC News/Washington Post poll have indicated that the president’s may have an even bigger advantage.
At another event in Mason City on Tuesday, King had police remove a man who called him a “professional liar and a homophobic.”
Watch this video from American Bridge, broadcast May 22, 2012.