Are Representative King’s Racist Anti-Immigrant Remarks Anything New?

The lawmaker's comments about drug mules are just the latest in a long history of anti-Mexican sentiment.

By Aura Bogado Jul 25, 2013

Representative Steve King (R-Ia.) made some pretty disparaging remarks last week about moving forward on immigration reform. When talking about youth who could be eligible for status adjustment because of their unique circumstance, King said: 

"For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds–and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."

But as jarring as King’s remarks are, they’re hardly a historical anomaly. Yale Professor Stephen Pitti makes that clear today:

"Americans who know their history will recognize that these comments, like King’s blanket statements about immigrant criminality, remind us of the virulent racism that we more readily associate with the 19th century United States. And those who have their eyes on today’s immigration debates know that elected officials who resurrect such old thinking do so to promote increased border militarization and block any pathway to citizenship for undocumented residents."

Read more about King’s statements–and Pitti’s response about the way that youth like the Dream 9 "broaden our nation’s horizons–" over at HuffPo