As Republican presidential hopefuls visit Iowa this weekend, illegal immigrants in Iowa and their supporters have a warning for them: Stay away from a major driving force behind the event you'll be attending – Rep. Steve King – if you want to have any chance of winning Hispanic votes.
Amnesty supporters say they will challenge prospective GOP candidates to repudiate King, The Washington Times reported
King will be hosting more than a dozen potential candidates in all likelihood at a Saturday forum, which is regarded by many as the unofficial start of the 2014 campaign.
"If the GOP wants to win [in] 2016, then they are going to have to make sure that they stay as much as possible away from Steve King as they can," said Erika Andiola, the Times reports. She is one of the so-called Dreamers who is in the United States as a result of President Barack Obama's 2012 amnesty for illegals brought here by their parents.
Amnesty backers ran newspaper ads urging presidential candidates to support "immigration reform," citing a 2013 Des Moines Register poll in which 77 percent of respondents said they supported "immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship."
Monica Reyes, co-founder of DREAM Iowa, a pro-amnesty group, also warned Republicans to shun King, now in his seventh term in the House, the Times reports.
"We will stand up for our communities, and we will try to protect what we earned and what we worked hard to get," Reyes said. "So if they want the Latino vote, if they want immigration allies, they need to change their stances. They need to keep away from Steve King."
King, a staunch foe of Obama's amnesty policies, described an illegal immigrant who sat with first lady Michelle Obama at the State of the Union address this week as a "deportable," the Times reports.
Steffen Schmidt, an Iowa state university political science professor, said King's backing carried a measure of risk when it came to winning Hispanic support, the Times reports.
But on the other hand, "a very large majority of Republican caucus and primary voters are on board with King, so it will probably help them on caucus night and in primaries in most of the red states," Schmidt said.
King is a huge favorite of grassroots conservatives and activists across the United States. Many of them welcome his aggressiveness in challenging Republican leaders in Washington, particularly on the subject of immigration amnesty.
In Iowa's 4th Congressional District, King cruised to re-election
in November with close to 62 percent of the vote.
King's role as a political kingmaker will be on display at the sold-out conservative confab this weekend.
The speakers include: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry; former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; neurosurgeon Ben Carson; former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton; and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.
Corporate tycoon Donald Trump and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the party's 2008 vice presidential candidate, will also attend.
Three potential candidates who won't be there are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida — all of whom "have signaled that they are open to the idea of legalizing illegal immigrants in some fashion," The Times noted.
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