House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday scolded a fellow Republican congressman for suggesting that many children of undocumented immigrants known as DREAMers are drug smugglers.
"There's no place in this debate for hateful or ignorant comments from elected officials," Boehner said as he opened his weekly news conference at the Capitol. The sharp words were aimed at Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who stirred controversy earlier this week when he said the children should not be given special legal status because "for everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there" who bring drugs across the border.
"What he said does not reflect the values of the American people or the Republican Party," Boehner said, adding that the comments were "deeply offensive and wrong." The speaker said remarks from King - and others - complicate the effort to overhaul what he called a broken immigration system.
"It does make it more difficult, but I'm going to continue to work with members who want to get a solution," Boehner said, adding that he would continue to work on immigration with lawmakers "who want to get a solution as opposed to those who want to do nothing." As the immigration debate percolates in Congress, Boehner and other Republican leaders have voiced support for finding a pathway to citizenship for the so-called DREAMers.