Rep. King: 'Gang of 8' Immigration Plan is Not Conservative

By Michael W. Chapman | April 29, 2013 | 4:43pm EDT

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).( Starr)

( – Representative Steve King (R-Iowa), a member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration & Border Security, said the immigration reform plan crafted by the “Gang of Eight” in the Senate and promoted strongly by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is nothing more than a “bold amnesty plan” that is “not very conservative” despite advertisements claiming otherwise.

King, a conservative, was interviewed on CSPAN’s Washington Journal on Apr. 25 about immigration reform. During the interview, host Greta Wodele Brawner showed one of the television ads in support of the Gang of Eight plan that is being promoted by the Mark Zuckerberg-backed group “Americans for a Conservative Direction.” Zuckerberg is the founder of Facebook.

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The ad shown on CSPAN begins with the on-screen statement “Marco Rubio on conservative immigration reform,” and quotes Rubio from several interview clips defending the Senate plan and cites The Washington Post describing the plan as “Bold,” “Very Conservative,” and “Border Security on Steroids.”

When asked about the ad and how it might affect House Republican reaction to the Senate immigration proposal, Rep. King said,   “You can’t call that plan very conservative. I can call it bold. It’s a bold amnesty plan.”

“And I was able to take a look at the bill before it was actually released, and started to read down through it,” he said.  “It has a promise of a plan to provide border security on the southern border. It hands it over to Janet Napolitano, her judgment and discretion on which sections of the border they would focus on, and you should get 90%, stop 90% of the people that you see in those sections of the border. It’s not as good a promise as we had in ’86. It’s not as good a promise as we’ve had all along.”

King continued: “It’s a 5-year-plan and everybody  is instantaneously legalized, a background check – you can’t do a background check on people that don’t have a legal existence even in their home country – all that is, is run through NCIC, National Crime Information Center, and ICE’s system. If they don’t show up in ICE’s system that’s the background check.”

“You must interview people to do a real background check,” said King.  “They’re not going to interview 11 to 20 million people. So there’s a lot in that, it’s a pretty outrageous reach. I can use that  word ’bold.’ But it’s a bold amnesty plan. And it’s not very conservative.”

“In fact, people that are for this plan, I don’t know how they present themselves as conservative because what they’ve really done, they’ve served up the rule of law and decided we’re going to sacrifice this on the altar of political expediency,” said the Iowa congressman.

The Gang of Eight members in the Senate include four Democrats and four Republicans: Sens. Michael Bennett (D-Colo.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

In an Apr. 24 press release, Sen. Rubio defended the Gang of Eight immigration reform bill he helped craft in the Senate, stating that under the plan “no one gets amnesty” and that “legalization is not immediate, automatic or irrevocable.”

The release further states that “criminals will not be eligible and this process will help better focus resources on deporting them.”

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