Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said Wednesday that immigrant families were giving their daughters birth control pills before they departed on the arduous “rape path” to the U.S. border.
“A very high percentage of girls are given birth control pills before [their families] send them on their journey up the train of death on ‘The Beast’ to get to the river, and then to pay a coyote to give them a ride across, because the families expect the girl to be raped on the way,” King told CNN’s Chris Cuomo in an interview on “New Day.”
King did not offer any evidence to support that claim, but did say aid workers estimated that “between a third and 70 percent” of the unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border had been sexually abused. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson had shared a similar anecdote in congressional testimony earlier this month.
King raised the issue again when Cuomo asked him whether members of Congress would act on the border crisis before allowing themselves to leave for August recess.
“I think we should fix it,” he responded. “I think we should first articulate this clearly. This is a man-caused disaster, and the man that caused it is Barack Obama with his DACA policy, with his Morton memos and the advertisement that has been such a huge magnet that have caused these families to give their daughters birth control pills and send them down a rape path all the way through Mexico. That’s a death path on the death train too.”
At one point, Cuomo asked King if the comments about the migrant girls posed “a change of heart” from the congressman’s infamous “cantaloupe calves” comment. King did not walk back the implication that most DREAMers, or immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, were drug smugglers.
“We have thousands of pounds of marijuana coming across the border, it is on the backs of young people that fit the very demographic of some of those that are in these facilities now,” he said. “We need to understand that there are billions of dollars of drugs coming into the United States, and many of the people that are carrying them across will fitted into the DREAMer category just like those in those holding facilities that I saw.”
This post has been updated.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.