POLITICS
11/02/2015 05:16 pm ET Updated Nov 04, 2015

Steve King Plans Bill To Target Undocumented Immigrant Protesters

He's tried it before.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) supports increasing the number of deportations.
Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) supports increasing the number of deportations.

WASHINGTON -- Protesting could be a deportable offense for undocumented immigrants if Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) gets his way. 

The immigration hawk's office circulated a bill on Monday that would authorize U.S. Capitol Police to help enforce immigration laws. The "Ending the Sanctuary Capitol Policy" has the specific aim of targeting protesters, according to an email sent to House offices by King legislative director Jared Culver.

King introduced the bill on Wednesday with six Republican cosponsors: Louie Gohmert and Lamar Smith of Texas, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania.

King said in a statement that "the lawlessness of the Obama administration ... has even invaded the Capitol grounds where the laws are written," making clear the bill was about targeting protesters.

"The Capitol Police, a federal law enforcement agency, do not have explicit statutory authority to enforce our immigration laws," he continued. "Without clear authority they are not investigating the immigration status of protesters openly claiming they are here illegally while disrupting Committee proceedings and shutting down Congressional offices."

"Any office that has been flooded with protesters calling for amnesty realize how the current environment encourages fearless protest no matter the legal status of the protester," he wrote.

The email was shared with The Huffington Post by a recipient and confirmed by another recipient. Neither Culver nor a spokeswoman for King responded to a request for comment.

King is a frequent target of immigration reform protests, including a cantaloupe delivery in 2013 after he infamously said many young undocumented immigrants have "calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."

He tried earlier this year to add an amendment to an enforcement bill that would allow Capitol Police to apprehend people based on immigration status, but it was left out of the legislation. 

GOP members of both chambers are pushing to end so-called sanctuary policies where police do not fully cooperate with deportation efforts. The House voted in July to strip federal law enforcement grants for those jurisdictions, while the Senate blocked a similar bill last month.

UPDATE: Nov. 4 -- King introduced the bill on Wednesday with six Republican cosponsors: Louie Gohmert and Lamar Smith of Texas, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania.

King said in a statement that "the lawlessness of the Obama administration ... has even invaded the Capitol grounds where the laws are written," making clear the bill was about targeting protesters.

"The Capitol Police, a federal law enforcement agency, do not have explicit statutory authority to enforce our immigration laws," he continued. "Without clear authority they are not investigating the immigration status of protesters openly claiming they are here illegally while disrupting Committee proceedings and shutting down Congressional offices."

Also on HuffPost:

PHOTO GALLERY
Scenes From 114th Congress And Capitol Hill
CONVERSATIONS