Watch Rand Paul Run Away from Discussion With DREAMers

The Kentucky Senator left Rep. Steve King alone to debate the status of undocumented immigrants with two DREAMers.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was again caught making embarrassing comments regarding undocumented immigrants. During an awkward showdown with two DREAMer activists, the congressman grabbed the arm of one and remarked “you can understand the English language.”

And Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was with King at the restaurant in Okoboji, Iowa. Upon seeing the start of this inelegant conversation, he left his hamburger at the table and ran from the camera. 

The two activists, Erika Andiola and Cesar Vargas, approached the politicians and proceeded to tell King that they did not want him to act against an executive action that grants temporary legal status to some undocumented immigrants, notably the DREAMers, who were brought to the United States as children.

The activists indentified themselves as DREAMers, which refers to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, originally proposed in 2001. If passed it would provide conditional residency to aliens who came to the U.S. as minors. 

Andiola presented her employment authorization card to King and dared him to rip it up. The card was issued to Andiola as part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which began in 2012 and allows her to stay in the U.S. for up to two years.

“I’m originally from Mexico, but I was raised here. I graduated from Arizona State University. I know you want to get rid of DACA. And I wanted to give you the opportunity, if you really want to get rid of DACA, just rip mine. You can go ahead and do that. You take my DACA, you will literally take away everything," said Andiola.

King refused, but insisted that their families were not abiding by the laws of the country. Andiola then took King on about statements he made about undocumented youths having cantaloupe-sized calves, a characterization he made a year ago on the floor of the House of Representatives.

King grabbed Andiola's arm and declared, “You’re very good at English. You know what I’m saying. You can understand the English language” and then told her he was only referring to drug smugglers.

When Andiola further pressed him about DACA, King argued that President Obama had no authority to implement it. Andiola then argued he did, and pointed to Vargas and declared, “he’s an attorney,” to which King shot back “Oh, and that makes you an authority.”

“You keep your card, I don’t do individual policy. I do national policy for everyone,” the congressman declared.

Sen. Paul seemed content to chew on his hamburger until the moment that Andiola introduced herself as DREAMer. He froze, looked at an aide and both headed for the door. An aide to Sen. Paul, Sergio Gor, told the National Journal that Paul’s departure—without as much as a goodbye—had nothing to do with the awkward meeting.

“Senator Paul had a media avail after the event and that’s where we had to be. CNN, Buzzfeed, Wall Street Journal and several local outlets attended the media avail.”

While Andiola made no mention of Sen. Paul's exit on the video, she made a case of it on Twitter:

Watch the video below:

Cliff Weathers is a former senior editor at AlterNet and served as a deputy editor at Consumer Reports. Twitter @cliffweathers.

 

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