Government

Rep. Steve King warns against 'illegal aliens' diluting districts

Iowa congressman talks immigration, trade at Parkersburg town hall

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, addresses questions during a town hall Tuesday, July 2, 2019, in Parkersburg, Iowa.  (Thomas Nelson/Waterloo Courier)
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, addresses questions during a town hall Tuesday, July 2, 2019, in Parkersburg, Iowa.  (Thomas Nelson/Waterloo Courier)

PARKERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, railed against illegal immigration and talked trade during a town hall Tuesday morning in Parkersburg.

It was part of King’s effort to reach out to all 39 counties in his 4th Congressional District. Throughout the event, King focused on illegal immigration. He advocated building a border wall to promote border security and stop drug trafficking.

He also said undocumented immigrants — who legally cannot vote — are watering down congressional districts in favor of Democrats.

“Your vote as a citizen is diluted by illegal aliens,” King said.

He said the tide of undocumented immigrants could change the political makeup of congressional districts, becoming a majority in a single district in 24 weeks.

He also addressed a recent statement by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., about concentration camps on the Mexican border. King denied the facilities on the border are concentration camps.

“They came on their own and they’re free to leave,” King said. “All they have to do is say, ‘I want to go back to the country I came from,’ and they’ll get a ride.”

Several constituents asked King’s opinion of the pending United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

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“I never would’ve opened up NAFTA,” King said of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the deal USMCA is meant to replace. “It was good for Iowa agriculture (and) good for Iowa manufacturing.”

But King said he trusts President Donald Trump will negotiate a better deal.

“I don’t want to argue with the results of this, I want to see how it plays out,” King said.

He said he’s operating under the assumption that Trump has a feel for trade and business relationships.

King was pushed by audience members to stand up to Trump on the issue.

“If I go out publicly and criticize the president on our trade it weakens his hand,” King said. “It means the deal we get is marginally less likely to succeed.”

King expressed qualified support for providing aid to countries in Central America whose citizens are traveling thousands of miles to seek asylum in the United States.

“It’s not a total solution, but it could be part of a solution,” King said. “We have not done a very good job in the Western Hemisphere, and the Monroe Doctrine has kind of drifted away on us.”

About 20 people attended the town hall at the Parkersburg Veterans Building. Three protesters stood outside, including one in a chicken costume. Later in the day King, visited Dakota City.

The 4th Congressional District includes all of northwest Iowa and seven counties east of Interstate 35. King has held office since 2002, but faces several primary challengers in the 2020 election.

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“I really can’t understand what they (the challengers) plan to accomplish, because they all say they agree with me,” King said. “I don’t know what their objective is, except they see an opportunity.”

The House Republican leadership stripped King of his committee assignments earlier this year after he made controversial comments on white supremacy.

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