Rep. Steve King, arguably the foremost immigration hawk in the House, isn't open to the idea of providing a pathway to citizenship to the undocumented children of immigrants.
Next week, the House will consider a GOP bill that offers relief for young undocumented immigrants, called DREAMers. The bill is backed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and numerous Republican members have claimed there is a "consensus" to legalize young immigrants brought into the country illegally by their parents.
But King (R-Iowa) isn't among that consensus. He told Univision's Jorge Ramos that such a proposal would violate "the rule of law."
"One of the pillars of American exceptionalism is the rule of law," he said in an interview that will air on "Al Punto" this Sunday. "If we destroy that because the sympathy in our heart for the DREAMers is greater than our love for the rule of law, then we have failed our founding fathers and we have diminished the destiny of this nation."
The Iowa congressman's comments indicate the GOP proposal will encounter resistance from the right. But that's not surprising. Last month, King led an effort to pass an amendment through the House that would defund President Obama's deportation relief program for young undocumented immigrants.
King said he wouldn't be open to considering legalization of any undocumented immigrants until the "rule of law" is restored -- meaning when the border is determined to be secure.
"It isn't my responsibility to solve that problem," he said. "American citizens and legal Americans do not have a moral obligation to solve the problem of the 11 million people that are here unlawfully. That's the condition they willfully stepped into on their own and some of them will make the decision on their own of what to do, many of them, actually."
Watch the full interview with King on Al Punto here.
The most heated moment of the interview, however, came when Ramos confronted King over a 2012 comment, in which the congressman compared how America selects immigrants to the process of picking "a good bird dog."
Here's the transcript of that exchange in full:
JR: You recently compared immigrants to dogs.
SK: No I didn't, that's a mischaracterization.
JR: Actually you, in a town hall meeting...
SK: Look at the original source. That didn't happen.
JR: I read it. And many people found it offensive.
SK: Did you watch the video? People write things on the internet all the time. But did you watch the video, the full video? That speech was about celebrating legal immigration...
JR: It was not a celebration.
SK: … And anyone that understands the language and the culture knows that if they saw the video.
JR: In a town hall meeting in Iowa, you actually compared immigrants to dogs. And many people would find that offensive and racist.
SK: I thought you would probably repeat yourself on that. I told you if you watch that video you would know that was a speech celebrating legal immigrants. Legal, not illegal immigrants. Legal immigrants. And I said they are the cream of the crop. It's the vigor of America that comes because people of all donor civilizations on the planet want to come here. They dream. We get the best ….
JR: So you don't want to apologize because of that comment?
SK: … that every country has to offer because of that. That was the speech. And it has been mischaracterized by people on the left. It's been intentionally and dishonestly done so to drive wedges between people on the basis of race …
JR: So you actually...
SK: … I think it's a sin to do that, Jorge.
JR: So from your point of view, you actually did not compare immigrants to dogs?
SK: I said that speech was about the vigor of legal immigration. It was a very complimentary speech and no I did not do that.
JR: I don't think many people found that complementary.
SK: I did not do that. And you should go back and look at the video. In fact, show the whole video on Univision and you'll know that.
JR: You know it is not complimentary to compare a group of immigrants to animals.
SK: You know I didn't do that if you watch the whole video. And I would challenge you to run the whole video on Univision. Run the whole video. Listen to the whole speech. Get a sense of what I was talking about rather than what the left-wing blogs are doing. They are trying to divide us instead of let us be unified as one people in this country.