Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Thursday that those denouncing his recent comments about illegal immigrants aren't actually offended but are "worried about losing their agenda."
King told TheBlaze TV's "Wilkow!" that fellow Republicans coming forward to castigate him for saying that for every valedictorian "DREAMer," there's "another 100 out there" hauling drugs across the border are just attacking the messenger.
"I would've found Republicans that agree with me on the issue that disagree with me on the statement," King said on TheBlaze TV. "I'm only finding some Republicans that are for DREAM Act amnesty."
King made the initial comments to Newsmax last week, but they didn't garner widespread attention until they were read aloud during a House panel Tuesday.
“For everyone who’s a valedictorian,” King said in the interview, “There’s another 100 out there that 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.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) are among the members of King's party who have come forward to criticize him.
"Valedictorians, I have sympathy for them, we all do. But you only get one valedictorian per school, per year. And they aren't all DREAMers, a lot of them are American kids that were born here, raised here or naturalized here," King said Thursday. "But I spend a lot of time down at the border and you have dozens and scores of people hauling drugs across our border every night and that number accumulates."
He continued, "So the question is, is it 100? Is it 100 drug smugglers for every valedictorian DREAMer? Or is the number above or below? Nobody's challenging that, nobody's saying 'he's wrong it's 50' or 'he underestimated that.'"
King said it "does no good" to seek out a specific number of people eligible for legal status under an immigration bill.
"It does no good to argue there are valedictorians we feel sorry for," he said. "Yes we do. But if you legalize the valedictorians you've got to get the one that's second and third in their class as well, and once you do that, there's no place to draw the line."
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