Young DREAMer activists with United We Dream, in coordination with United Farm Workers, spent yesterday morning delivering cantaloupes to 224 representatives who voted with Rep. Steve King of Iowa to end DACA, President Obama’s policy to halt the deportations of some undocumented youth.
Recently, King made extremely racist remarks during a radio address where he characterized most undocumented youth as drug mules. Think Progress reports, “Notably, he said that for every so-called DREAMer who is a valedictorian, there are ‘one hundred drug mules’ and ‘you can tell by their physical characteristics what they’ve been doing for months.’”
King had the gall to compare the calves of young immigrants (who obviously run drugs) to cantaloupes. Well, that is what 224 representatives received yesterday. Cantaloupes harvested by immigrants who work hard to produce food for this country, affixed with the message “This cantaloupe was picked by immigrants in California. You gave Steve King a vote. Give us a vote for citizenship.”
Party leaders, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), were quick to condemn the bigoted comments made by King. Cantor called the comments “inexcusable.” But it’s time for the GOP leadership of the House to walk their talk. The Senate overwhelmingly passed an immigration reform bill last month, but there is no sign that the House has even started working on their own version.
“Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy say that King doesn’t represent the Republican Party, but it certainly looks like he does. Over 200 Republicans—including those members of leadership—voted with King on his recent amendment to strip DREAMers of work permits and separate hard-working families. It’s not enough to oppose his rhetoric while supporting the same policies,” said Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice.
DREAMers, their supporters, and many state and national immigrant rights groups are demanding more. The fight for immigration reform has escalated and it’s time for the House to move. As you enjoy your morning fruit (cantaloupe, perhaps?) spend a minute thinking about the courageous DREAMers who risked deportation to send a message to our representatives, then log on at unitedwedream.org to join the movement.