Steve King, a Republican Representative from Iowa, has some words for the children of undocumented immigrants: Turn on your parents.
In 2012, Barack Obama signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive action (DACA), so that the children of undocumented immigrants would not be deported over the actions of their parents and they could work in the U.S. These kids are regularly called DREAMers— because of the DREAM Act that did not pass in 2010.
King, a vocal critic of DACA, took aim at DREAMers in his latest CNN interview on Monday. This time, he called on DREAMers to turn in their parents as "criminals" and said he believes DACA recipients should be required to sign affidavits that say as much before being given amnesty. Per the interview:
— CAP Action (@CAPAction) August 29, 2017
“[DREAMers are] just supposed to turn themselves in 10 years later when they realize how they got here," CNN Host Chris Cuomo asked, not hesitating to question how cruel it would be to demand that of DACA recipients. "You think that is what America’s about, congressman?”
“If it was against their will, then it had to be their parents who are responsible," King said. "And I’m still waiting for the first DACA recipient to say so and sign an affidavit that says, ‘I didn’t really do this on my own accord, my parents brought me in, they should have the law enforced against them, give me amnesty.’ I’m not hearing that from the DACA people."
This isn't the first time King has attacked DREAMers in interviews. Last year, in an interview with CNN, King said that "among all of these dreamers, there are some awfully bad people. And these dreamers go on up to the age of 37 or 38 or maybe older" and accused DREAMers of lying about their ages and circumstances.
King's latest comments were quickly called "disgusting and heartless," among other things, from his colleagues in Congress and immigration advocates.
DISGUSTING AND HEARTLESS. Steve King on CNN going after #DACA children for not turning in their parents. What kind of person says that?
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) August 29, 2017
For many, King's reductive comments distill the complicated life experiences of undocumented people and their families to just a crime. In reality, the situations that lead people to end up living in the United States as undocumented immigrants are incredibly complex. And, really, who would turn in their own parents?
King fans and supporters of the president came to his defense in the comment section of the Congressman's official Facebook page, saying things like: "Thank you for taking on the Communist Network News" and "Return them to their families in Mexico or whatever country."
King's comments also come in the wake of President Trump pardoning former-Maricopa County Sheriff Jeff Arpaio, who was previously convicted for profiling undocumented immigrants and alleged to have engaged in cruel treatment of Hispanic and Latino prisoners in his jails. ThinkProgress reports that King was initially appearing on CNN to defend Trump for that move, but ultimately did little but demonstrate a considerable level of cruelty toward undocumented immigrants.