Iowa Rep. Steve King on Wednesday told NBC News that the recipients of the Obama-era program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, “came here to live in the shadows, and we’re not denying them that opportunity to live in the shadows.”
His comments came one day after the Trump administration announced it would end DACA in six months, allowing Congress time to potentially enact a replacement measure.
King, a Republican who is known for making inflammatory statements about immigrants, told CNN that undocumented immigrants shouldn’t expect Congress to create a legislative solution. He added that forcing the immigrants to live in the shadows was “justice.”
“Live in the shadows and if you get crossways with the law, then the law requires they be placed in criminal proceedings and go home,” King said. “I think there’s justice there, but we need to provide justice.”
King recently received fierce, bipartisan criticism after he tweeted praise of the far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders for his anti-immigration views.
“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny,” he wrote. “We can’t restore our civilization with someone else’s babies.”
King later said of his tweet that “I meant exactly what I said.”
Yet King issued his most notorious remark several years ago when he criticized an earlier version of Congress’ DREAM Act, which would have implemented similar protections for undocumented immigrants as Obama’s DACA program.
“For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another hundred out there who weigh 130 pounds, and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” King said in 2013, referring to the would-be beneficiaries of the DREAM Act.
Watch King’s DACA remarks below: