Embattled Iowa Rep. Steve King cited a 12-year-old study by a reported hate group to blame undocumented immigrants for “influencing” elections.
At a recent campaign event, the eight-term conservative Republican didn’t suggest that noncitizens are voting, but he did blame them for boosting the populations of — and as a result, the congressional seats allotted to — certain communities. Customs and Border Protection apprehends about 4,000 immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border each day, he said, a figure he claimed adds up to two congressional seats a year.
“So you could have 50 congressional seats replaced and supplanted by noncitizen illegal aliens who have no lawful presence in the United States,” he said at a town hall in Audubon County.
“There was a study done in 2007 by FAIR — Federation for American Immigration Reform — they just estimated that there were six seats in California alone that wouldn’t exist if they didn’t have an illegal population,” he added, citing the controversial immigration restriction group founded by John Tanton. He also joked about the Chinese government force-feeding pork to Uighur Muslims at the same event.
King also recently claimed the human race would barely exist if not for rape and incest. “What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest?” King told a crowd in August. “Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?”
King’s got quite a history of making racist sexist and otherwise controversial remarks, and he finally faced some repercussions in January, when he was stripped of his committee assignments after asking when “white nationalist” became an offensive term. Since then, he has largely been abandoned by the Republican Party.
The fact that undocumented immigrants and other noncitizens affect the number of congressional representatives given to states based on population was one of the excuses Republican politicians used to push for the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census, which the Trump administration recently tried to do.
Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach floated the idea of adding the question to the census before President Trump was even elected, and in a July 2017 email to Wilbur Ross — who by that point was the secretary of the Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau — Kobach said the “problem” with the current census is that aliens who do not actually 'reside' in the United States are still counted for congressional reapportionment purposes.”
But that wasn’t the justification the Trump administration provided for putting the question on the census. Instead, the Commerce Department claimed that it needed the question to help the Department of Justice enforce the Voting Right Act — a rationale that the Supreme Court ruled was contrived.
Conservatives’ desire for a citizenship question on the census precedes Trump’s campaign, though: FAIR, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed a hate group, has been trying to get it on the census since the 1980s.
Cover: U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, speaks during a news conference, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)