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Congress Misses Opportunity to Stand up Against Racism and Xenophobia Rep. Steve King Should Be Censured

01.17.2019

For Immediate Release
January 17, 2018
Contact: Karina Martínez | karinam@mifamiliavota.org | 858/752-1262

Congress Misses Opportunity to Stand up Against Racism and Xenophobia

Rep. Steve King Should Be Censured

Washington D.C. – Racist comments made by Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa in an interview led to resolutions in the House to censure him. The resolutions were referred to the House ethics committee rather than getting a vote on the House floor.

Mi Familia Vota released the following statement:

“Rep. Steve King has a history of racist and xenophobic comments. His most recent statement to the New York Times that he doesn’t understand when being a “White Nationalist” became a pejorative term demonstrates how completely out of touch he is with where we are as a nation. Leaders in Congress should understand that his words are illustrative of a type of unhealthy mindset that harms national unity in this country. As a member of Congress, Steve King represents his district, but he is also a national symbol of our democratic principles and national values. His words and actions grossly distort both of these. Racism is wrong. Period.

“Three Republicans — House GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney, Sen. Mitt Romney and Rep. Chris Stewart— called for Rep. King’s resignation. If they can stand up to a member of their own party, why do Democrats in the House demonstrate passivity towards his behavior? This isn’t a procedural technicality – this is a person who advocates for prejudicial government standards in violation of the principles of “in liberty and justice for all,” not just for some.

Rep. Clyburn directly condemned “white nationalism and white supremacy as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States.” This is a noble sentiment. However, in the case of Rep. King – his statement wasn’t a one-off. According to the New York Times, he has publicly promoted white nationalists and neo-Nazis on Twitter and disparaged nonwhite groups for years.

“But let’s examine his record. His actions speak for themselves.

“Rep. King introduced the English Language Unity Act in 2005, a bill to make English the official language of the United States, and then sued the Iowa Secretary of State for posting voting information on an official website in Spanish, Laotian, Bosnian and Vietnamese.

“At a rally in Las Vegas in 2006, Rep. King called the deaths of Americans at the hands of undocumented immigrants “a slow-motion Holocaust.” In 2010, on the House floor, he spoke about how law enforcement officers can spot undocumented immigrants by virtue of “a sixth sense they can’t put their finger on,” inferring that somehow immigrants are different from US citizens.

“In today’s heightened political climate, what our political representatives do and say matters. They should set high standards not debase our national heritage as a welcoming nation. A tolerant nation. A nation that values all of its citizens, even if their English isn’t perfect. Congress can and should do more or we will continue to slide into a vortex of national anxiety where lies, distortion of facts and the promotion of hateful activities will become acceptable. That is not who we are as Americans.”

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Mi Familia Vota is a national civic engagement organization that unites Latino, immigrant, and allied communities to promote social and economic justice through citizenship workshops, voter registration, and voter participation. Mi Familia Vota has operations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Texas.