Immigration

Steve King Compares Immigrants to Dogs, Says it was a Compliment

He also claimed that the majority of undocumented immigrants are “130-pound” drug runners with “calves the size of cantaloupes.”

In a Univision interview, leading Hispanic reporter Jorge Ramos confronted Rep. Steve King (R-IA) over remarks in 2012 where the congressman likenedimmigrants to dogs. King refused to apologize, even as Ramos told him “many people would find that offensive and racist.”

Video of King’s 2012 town hall shows him saying America has the “pick of the litter,” and should pick the “friskier” immigrants, “not the one that’s over there sleeping on the corner.”

But King denies that he ever made the comparison. Interrupting Ramos throughout the interview to make that point, King said, “I told you if you watch that video you would know that was a speech celebrating legal immigrants.”

Here is an excerpt of the testy exchange:

RAMOS: So from your point of view, you actually did not compare immigrants to dogs?

KING: I said that speech was about the vigor of legal immigration. It was a very complimentary speech and no I did not do that.

RAMOS : I don’t think many people found that complementary. [Crosstalk]. You know it is not complimentary to compare a group of immigrants to animals.

Watch the full video at ABC Univision.

King has compared immigrants to animals more than once, including the time he suggested an electrified border fence because “we do this with livestock all the time.”

During the same interview, the leading opponent to immigration reform also remarked that what happens to DREAMers and undocumented immigrants is not his “responsibility.” “American citizens and legal Americans do not have a moral obligation to solve the problem of the 11 million people that are here unlawfully,” he said.

Rebecca Leber is a research assistant for the ThinkProgress war room. She graduated from the University of Rochester and holds a B.A. in political science and English with a minor in economics.