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Iowa Rep. Steve King: Assimilate Immigrants, But Only the 'Pick of the Litter'

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Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has always been a very strong, vocal opponent of illegal immigration and amnesty.

According to his website, King believes that we only encourage illegal immigration by discussing amnesty for the 12-20 million illegal immigrants living in the United States today and adamantly opposes such.

He believes in tightening and strengthening our border control efforts, including using his own design of a concrete border wall and cites his 35 years of experience in the earth-moving, drainage and concrete construction business. His concrete wall would function as both a human and vehicle barrier, inspired by the success of the concrete wall in Israel.

King also believes in shutting off the job magnets that encourage illegal immigrants to come to the United States and, in support of this, he has authored "New IDEA," the Illegal Deduction Elimination Act, which would protect American jobs for American workers by making wages and benefits paid to illegal immigrants nondeductible for federal tax purposes.

He also introduced H.R. 140, the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011, to limit birthright citizenship to a child born in the United States to at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen or national, a legal permanent resident living in the United States, or an individual who is serving on active duty status in the U.S. Armed Forces.

King concludes his immigration thoughts on his website with words about "assimilating immigrants" whereby immigrants "will benefit from our shared American culture of individual freedom, personal responsibility, and patriotism."

So far, so good. King is entitled to his opinions, and prejudices, but comparing immigrants to dogs?

Salon.com reports that this is exactly what King did at a town hall meeting in Pocahontas, Iowa, on Monday, "telling constituents that the U.S. should pick only the best immigrants the way one chooses the 'pick of the litter.'"

Salon.com:

King told the crowd in Pocahontas, Iowa, that he's owned lots of bird dogs over the years and advised, "You want a good bird dog? You want one that's going to be aggressive? Pick the one that's the friskiest... not the one that's over there sleeping in the corner."

King suggested lazy immigrants should be avoided as well. "You get the pick of the litter and you got yourself a pretty good bird dog. Well, we've got the pick of every donor civilization on the planet," King said. "We've got the vigor from the planet to come to America."

Salon.com adds:

King has long been one of Congress' most vociferous and toxic opponents of illegal immigration and "amnesty," often partnering with notorious immigration hawks like former congressman Tom Tancredo and Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

In 2010, he took to the House floor to declare that he could detect "illegals" by their footwear and his "sixth sense."

Again, Mr. King is entitled to have his positions on the subject of immigration (legal and illegal), however, such outbursts as in Pocahontas -- such dog-whistle politics -- only hurt his credibility and his movement.

As his Democratic challenger, Christie Vilsack, says:

If we're going to have a real discussion on immigration, we should start by acknowledging that immigrants are human beings. 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.

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