Rep. Steve King Suggests DREAM Act Would Offend Families Of Fallen Soldiers

November 12, 2010 2:03 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Earlier today, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) appeared on Fox News to rail against the DREAM Act. Congressional leaders hope to vote on the bill, which would provide young illegal immigrants with a "conditional path to citizenship that requires completion of a college degree or two years of military service," in the upcoming lame duck session.

King, the ranking GOP member on the House subcommittee on immigration, rejected the argument that the DREAM Act would help children who are not responsible for their own immigration status. "Being the children of illegals doesn't mean that they are not illegals themselves," King said, adding, "They aren't anchor babies who were born here."

Attempting to claim the moral high ground, King also suggested that "this special amnesty program, this affirmative action program for illegals" would be offensive to the families of soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

KING: Here's another moral position that I think we need to understand, is that The DREAM Act is a de facto scholarship for an illegal that, if it were to be delivered by the Department of Homeland Security, they would be compelled to have to deport those illegals they'd be handing this de facto scholarship to. And, sitting in the classroom next to some of them if the DREAM Act passes, will be inevitably a widow or a widower or a son or a daughter of someone who has lost their life in Iraq or Afghanistan defending our liberty and our freedom, and they would be paying out-of-state tuition, if they chose to cross a state line to go to school for example, sitting next to someone in a classroom that received a de facto scholarship who was illegal and only authorized to become an American citizen through this special amnesty program, this affirmative action program for illegals that is being pushed by Harry Reid.

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While King presumes to speak for those most intimately affected by war, he might be surprised to learn that military experts — such as retired Gen. Colin Powell — and veterans groups support passage of the DREAM Act, in part because it will significantly expand the pool of qualified applicants for military service. As Andrea Nill has written, research indicates that Latinos "are more likely to enlist and serve in the military than any other group."

Somos Republicans, which bills itself as "the largest and fastest growing Hispanic Republican Organization in the Southwest," is urging Republican leaders not to elevate King to the chair of the immigration subcommittee. In an open letter to Reps. John Boehner (R-OH) and Eric Cantor (R-VA), the group accuses King of engaging in "inflammatory" attacks that have caused "an exodus of Hispanic voters to the Democratic Party."

King's performance today is unlikely to ease their concerns.      

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