DES MOINES—U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is urging Iowa voters to press presidential candidates to talk about what they would do to curb illegal immigration.
The congressman from the Northwest Iowa town of Kiron hosted a forum on the issue in Des Moines Monday. King said candidates in the last two presidential campaigns failed to debate the issue and that it shouldn’t be ignored again in 2008.
“This is about presidential politics; I make no bones about it,” King said. “I want Iowans to understand immigration policy, and I want them to challenge the presidential candidates when they get here and ask them the hard questions.”
And King said he is opposed to President Bush’s amnesty plan for long-time illegal workers.
Instead, King wants to construct a barrier across the country’s southern border to keep Mexicans from entering the country illegally. He said at an estimated cost of $680 million, it would cost far less than housing illegal aliens in the nation’s prisons and jails.
King’s statements on immigration have brought sharp criticism from Iowa Democrats, who accuse him of having extremist views.
“Iowans understand this is a state and a nation of immigrants, and they expect a fair immigration policy, not one based on hate and discrimination,” said Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson.