King: Immigration plan is ‘outrageous reach' toward amnesty

Iowa congressman says Gang of 8 proposal isn't a 'bold conservative' approach

Immigration reform being promoted by the Senate’s Gang of 8 is an “outrageous reach” that will result in a “colossal amnesty plan,” according to Iowa U.S. Rep. Steve King.

Amnesty would be granted to the 11 million-plus illegal immigrants in the country now “instantly and perpetually,” King said during an appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal Thursday morning.

Although he had intended to “keep his powder dry” in hopes that “saner heads would prevail” in the immigration debate, the western Iowa Republican said as he’s watched the Gang of 8 plan gain momentum, he feels compelled to be a part of the debate.

“I was hoping others would step up,” King said. “As the inertia of this moved forward, a little over two weeks ago, I finally decided that if I don’t step up, nobody’s going to step up.”

Now he’s part of a working group trying to give Americans a “better look at what’s really in the bill.”

His concern is that the Senate, with Republican support, will approve an immigration plan that would result in amnesty. The House might amend it, perhaps limiting it to requiring employers to use e-verify to authenticate job applicants’ status. However, when it goes to a Senate-House conference committee, King said, leaders might return the Senate language and send it to both chambers for an up-or-down vote.

In that case, he warned, all House Democrats and enough Republicans might vote for it to pass the immigration plan.

King rejected the idea that the Gang of 8 plan, supported by Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, is a “bold conservative” approach.

“I can call it bold. It’s a bold amnesty plan,” King said. “People for this plan, I don’t know how they present themselves as conservatives.”

It’s not as good as the immigration reform approved by Congress in 1986, and King said he doubts Republican President Ronald Reagan would sign that law if he had it to do over.

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