Republican Rep. Steve King, a vehement opponent of immigration reform, created waves shortly before President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night when he characterized one of the commander-in-chief’s guests as “a deportable.”
“Obama perverts ‘prosecutorial discretion’ by inviting a deportable to sit in place of honor at #SOTU w/1st Lady,” the Iowa lawmaker tweeted. “I should sit with Alito,” he added, referring to conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
The quip was in apparent reference to Ana Zamora, a 21-year-old from Dallas, Texas, who came to the United States illegally as a child from Mexico. She has been allowed to stay under Obama’s 2012 program to help young immigrants who were brought to the country illegally.
“I am finally a person in the United States,” Zamora wrote Obama in the fall. “I have a social security number, an employment authorization card and a driver’s license to drive the car I pay for with my own money (which I earned working with my employment authorization card) and pay taxes as any law-abiding U.S. citizen. I could not be more proud of myself!!!”
Some Republicans are trying to undo the policy.
When NBC News’ Luke Russert asked King about his “deportable” remark, the GOPer reportedly told him to “shake it off and have a sense of humor.” He also insisted the comment wouldn’t hurt potential 2016 presidential candidates – several of whom are attending a summit King is hosting in Des Moines on Saturday, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and Rick Perry of Texas.
The Democratic National Committee pounced on King’s comments, saying they remind “his 2016 visitors what they’re in for this weekend.”
King, considered a political powerbroker of sorts in the state, is known for his strident remarks against immigration reforms. He generated a string of negative publicity in 2013 for saying immigrants coming across the U.S. border have “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. “