GOP Rep. King Defends Arpaio, Says DACA Recipients Should Turn In Parents

Carolyn Kaster/AP
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What began as an opportunity for Rep. Steve King (R-IA) to defend President Donald Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio ended with King recommending undocumented young people report their parents to immigration agents.

King also defended his prior racist remarks in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Monday.

In defending Arpaio, whom a judge convicted of criminal contempt of court in July, King said that while explicit racial profiling was immoral, “I don’t agree that profiling is wrong.”

“In fact, if you would take profiling away from the tools of law enforcement, you couldn’t describe a criminal in any way whatsoever,” he added.

However, the court order Arpaio was convicted of violating said explicitly that he could not detain Latinos based solely on the suspicion they were violating immigration law. As the Arizona Republic reported, referring to the original lawsuit that eventually led to the criminal contempt of court conviction: “The judge trying that case not only found that Arpaio’s policies constituted racial profiling, he also found Arpaio to be in civil contempt of court and referred him to another judge for the criminal contempt.”

Occasionally, King would simply point to the fact that Arpaio’s conviction came from a judge, not a jury. “It’s judge-made law,” he said.

He also admitted that his view of effective enforcement of immigration law included local law enforcement arresting American citizens on the suspicion they were undocumented immigrants, though that would violate the law.

“You said he rounded up brown people,” King told Cuomo, referring to a point about Arpaio the host made earlier in the discussion.

That is what he did,” Cuomo said. “I’m not saying it. It’s what the Justice Department said and you’re well aware of these facts. Whether or not you agree with his practices is something else.”

“How do you avoid doing that if you’re going to enforce immigration law?” King responded. “And eventually, every once in a while, you get somebody that is a citizen by accident.”

Cuomo said the arrests were by design, not by accident.

Later, King said his assertion that DACA, or “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” recipients were disproportionately involved in the drug trade was “completely and demonstrably true.”

In 2013, he asserted: “for every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another hundred out there that they weight 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

On Monday, he also appealed to young DACA recipients to turn their parents in to law enforcement.

“If it was against their will then it had to be their parents that are responsible,” he said, referring to DACA recipients brought to the United States illegally by their parents. “And I’m still waiting for the first DACA recipient to say so and sign an affidavit that says ‘I didn’t really do this of my own accord. My parents brought me in. They should have the law enforced against them. Give me amnesty.’ I’m not hearing that from the DACA people.”

Watch some of the discussion below via CNN:

H/t The Hill. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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