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.
“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.
Don’t worry if you missed Senator Rand Paul, or were waiting for him to weigh in on the conversation… he was only there long enough to take one bite of his sandwich, and the second he heard Andiola say the word “DREAMer” he bolted like he stole something. Talk about a display of Presidential leadership!!
So he leaves Representative King to represent Congressional Republican opinion on the issue, and boy does he. And that’s part of the problem with this exchange… King isn’t some Joe Blow protester holding up signs at the Capitol. He carries the responsibility of KNOWING these issues inside and out for the 700,000 constituents we PAY him to represent. This guy here, telling Andiola that she “speaks good English” and completely ignoring her when she said her mom left her native country originally to flee violence, is on the taxpayer payrolls making $175,000 dollars per year. If he can’t have a more informed opinion on these sensitive issues, who can?
As ugly as the Congressman’s comments are, at least we have now heard them. Kudos to Erika Andiola and Cesar Vargas for having the courage to confront these lawmakers, and to the DREAM Action Coalition for posting the video and exposing Steve King’s views to the world. Hopefully the outcry over things like this will bolster President Obama’s urgency for an Executive Order. If the President is waiting for people like King to “come around” on Immigration reform (and ripping families apart in the process just to prove he can enforce current law), it ain’t gonna happen. Republicans have proven once again that they will not behave responsibly on these (or any other) issues, at least not in 2014. Time to act, Mr. President.