Steve King answers questions on immigration in Ames town hall


Congressman Steve King speaks at the end of the Roast and Ride fundraiser June 3, 2017, in Boone, Iowa.

Jake Webster

Rep. Steve King held an at times raucous town hall Friday at the Ames City Auditorium, discussing trade negotiations, presidential statements and immigration.

King said he recently met with a member of the Canadian parliament, who told him there is broad support for the ratification of the USMCA, a re-negotiation of the NAFTA agreement.

The congressman called for his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives to allow a vote on the bill, and said he believes the votes are there for it to pass the House.

King addressed President Donald Trump’s racist tweets from earlier this week.

“The president sent out a tweet, and his political opposition declared it to be a racist tweet,” King said.

Several in the audience audibly replied that the tweets were “racist.”

King was asked about how farmers would be able to operate if all undocumented workers were deported, as he has expressed support for.

The congressman did not directly answer the question.

“I do hear a lot of requests for more labor,” King said. “This issue … will not be solved until the border is secure.”

King was interrupted by members of the audience while discussing asylum policies, as King defended the deaths of children in U.S. immigration custody by saying “thousands and thousands” more die on the journey north to the U.S. southern border.

“The proportionality of this — the magnet of the United States is costing many lives south of the border — and we’re blinded to that,” King said.

In the wake of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to pull a question on citizenship from the 2020 census, King said in his view, the United States should not have representation of non-citizens in Congress, but recognized that would be unconstitutional.

King, who is seeking his 10th term in the House, faces challengers from his own party in his re-election bid.

Iowa Sen. Randy Feenstra, R-Hull, who is challenging King in the Republican primary, out-fundraised King in both the first and second quarters of the year, according to FEC documents.

Bob Vander Plaats, who has sought the Republican nomination for governor and leads the social conservative group The Family Leader, endorsed Feenstra’s candidacy yesterday.