Rep. Steve King Decries Supposed "Invasion" Of 11,000 Illegal Immigrants Per Night

November 18, 2010 4:31 pm ET

Speaking on the House floor today, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) claimed that 11,000 illegal immigrants cross into the United States every single night. That would mean that more than four million people enter the United States illegally every year. King's numbers, however, are way off. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that approximately 500,000 illegal immigrants per year — or less than 1,400 per night — came to the United States between 2005 and 2008.

Rep. King Suggests 11,000 Illegal Immigrants Cross Into U.S. Every Night

KING: We think that a sovereign nation should have no border incursions. If we have a border incursion, and it's someone who is lined up next to someone else, lined up next to someone else, and they're carrying weapons and uniforms, that's called an invasion. Whether they're wearing uniforms or carrying weapons, or whether they're coming across in orderly ranks, or whether they're coming across at a rate of perhaps as many as 11,000 a night — and that's some data that came before the House Immigration Committee under sworn testimony — you take the annual illegal border crossings and you divide it by 365, and some of that data, under oath, calculates out to be 11,000 illegal border crossings in a 24-hour period, a lot of that taking place at night. When you think of 11,000 a night, and so I ask the question, what was the size of Santa Ana's army? About half that. That, Mr. Speaker, is the magnitude of the illegal border crossings that we're seeing.

King's Estimate Is Grossly Exaggerated

Pew: Number Of Illegal Immigrants Entering The U.S. Has Fallen To About 500,000 Per Year. According to the Pew Hispanic Center:

It also is clear that from 2005 to 2008, the inflow of immigrants who are undocumented fell below that of immigrants who are legal permanent residents. That reverses a trend that began a decade ago. The turnaround appears to have occurred in 2007.

The Pew Hispanic Center also estimates that inflows of unauthorized immigrants averaged 800,000 a year from 2000 to 2004, but fell to 500,000 a year from 2005 to 2008 with a decreasing year-to-year trend. By contrast, the inflow of legal permanent residents has been relatively steady this decade.

[Pew Hispanic Center, "Trends in Unauthorized Immigration," 10/2/08, emphasis added]

Hispanic Republican Group Says King Is "Offensive To Hispanics"

Somos Republicans Urged GOP Leadership To Reconsider King's Appointment To Head Immigration Subcommitee. In an open letter to the House Republican leadership, Somos Republicans wrote:

Somos Republicans is the largest and fastest growing Hispanic Republican Organization in the Southwest, which is rapidly expanding into the Midwest and the rest of the nation. We come to you asking for your reconsideration of the appointment of Congressman Steven King (Iowa) as the Chair of Subcommittee on Immigration, and that of Congressman Lamar Smith (Texas) as the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

As we are already looking toward the 2012 Presidential Elections, we respectfully ask you to take heed to our request out of concern for our nation. Congressmen Smith and King have repeatedly engaged in rhetoric that is aimed negatively toward Hispanics. Steve King has used defamatory language that is extremely offensive to Hispanics, which is found in numerous congressional records. We believe Steve King's behavior is not appropriate for a high-level elected Republican who might be in charge of a committee that handles immigration rules. Steve King and Lamar Smith have adopted extreme positions on birthright citizenship, and promise legislation that would undermine the 14th amendment of the constitution, which both swore an oath to uphold.

[Somos Republicans, 11/9/10, emphasis added]

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