Things got dicey Monday night when two immigration activists confronted Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) at a fundraiser in Okoboji, Iowa.
Erika Andiola and Cesar Vargas, both members of the Dream Action Coalition, shook hands with the two lawmakers and introduced themselves as beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program — a program King pushed to end through legislation in the House. Paul was quickly whisked away from the table by an aide and even left his food behind as Andiola handed her DACA card to King and offered to let him rip it up.
The Dream Action Coalition posted video of the confrontation to YouTube.
Andiola then referenced King’s infamous “calves the size of cantaloupes” remarks, in which he said some DREAMers, or undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, smuggle drugs across the border.
“Stop a minute,” King said as he grabbed Andiola’s wrist. “You’re very good at English. You know what I’m saying.”
“I was raised in the United States,” Andiola said.
King continued to insist that Andiola was misunderstanding him.
“I spoke of drug smugglers. Now, you’re not going to tell me you’re one of them are you?” he asked.
“Do I look like a drug smuggler to you?” she said.
Andiola went on to explain to King that she and her mother came to the U.S. from Mexico to escape her mother’s abusive relationship. King showed no sympathy when Andiola explained that her mother was going through the lengthy process of applying to stay in the U.S. legally.
“I’m really sorry that you come from a lawless country,” King said. “I hope that you can have a happy life. But please, do not erode the rule of law in America.”
Paul missed the entire testy exchange. The aide who led Paul away from the activists, Sergio Gor, told the National Journal in an email that the senator “had a media avail after the event and that’s where we had to be.”