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Reps. Ros-Lehtinen, Diaz-Balart join chorus of critics over Steve King's DREAMer-drug-mule comments


Miami’s three Cuban-American members of Congress have a message for fellow U.S. Rep. Steve King, who said more DREAMer immigrants are drug mules than valedictorians: Be quiet.

King’s statements, which drew swift rebukes from Republican congressional leaders earlier in the week, have become the latest flash-point in the immigration debate in the conservative House, which is divided over whether and how to reform the system.

“These comments are outrageous and reflect only this particular member’s views,” Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican House member like King, said in a statement. “Such statements are factually untrue, hurtful and seem designed to divide rather than to bring our nation together.”

Ros-Lehtinen’s fellow Miami Republican, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, has spent more than a year with a bipartisan House group that now plans to release a comprehensive immigration-reform package after the August recess — a strategic move partly designed to shield the bill from criticism when Congress isn’t in session.

Diaz-Balart called King’s comments “unacceptable… unacceptable. Unacceptable.”

U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, a Democrat, said at a House Judiciary subcommittee Tuesday that King’s sentiments were “beneath the dignity of this body.”

But King isn’t backing down, and the conservative news media is celebrating his comments about the so-called DREAM Act, which would give a pathway to citizenship for students who were illegally brought to this country by their parents.

While DREAM Act supporters say eligible kids are current and future valedictorians, King told the conservative media outlet NewsMax last week that some are used as drug mules.

King took to the House floor late Wednesday night and defended himself by reading comments into the congressional record that included information from a 2012 Associated Press article that bore the headline: “Mexico Children Used as ‘Mules’ by Drug Gangs.”

According to The Hill, King also reiterated a version of his NewsMax comments that caused a stir: “For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that they weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. Those people would be legalized with the same act.”

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