HB 56 in Alabama is ripping families apart, making children too afraid to come to school, and depriving the state of much-needed workers and laborers, but that’s not stopping some Republicans—like U.S. Congressman Steve King (R-IA)—from proudly proclaiming that the law is working as intended.
This past weekend in Iowa, King, who along with Reps. Lamar Smith and Elton Gallegly sets immigration policy for the House GOP, dismissed ideas that HB 56 had gone too far. He actually suggested that racial profiling was ok, and implied that we should chuck people out of the hospital based on immigration status.
Think Progress reporter Scott Keyes detailed his conversation with King:
KEYES: Do you think that Alabama went too far in terms of asking schoolchildren their immigration status or having utility companies be able to shut off water to families if they don’t provide their immigration status?
KING: [...] Going too far to ask someone about their status? Whether they can be legally or illegally in the United States? Not in the world I grew up in. In the world I grew up in, a police officer would see somebody on the street and say, “Why are you here? What are you doing? Who are you? I don’t know who you are.” [...]
KEYES: Is there anything you think that could be too far, like asking people in the hospital about their immigration status?
KING: I don’t know why that would be too far. It depends on who is doing the asking. But I have walked through the hospitals down along the border, and I know what goes on. Tucson University Hospital, for example, is the most southerly trauma center in Arizona. The reason for that is all the rest of them had to close because they’ve been required to provide free medical care to people who are in the United States illegally.
These legislators—these servants of the people—can casually dismiss the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Alabama because, after all, it’s only “illegal aliens” who are being affected. They clearly don’t care if their policies sometimes make life difficult for legal immigrants and American citizens as well.
That’s why they rail against hospitals that provide medical care to immigrants, ignoring the fact that we as a country decided long ago that a civilized nation should not leave people out on the street to die. That’s why they attack Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry for supporting his state’s DREAM Act, ignoring the reality that students who can’t go to college are less likely to become productive citizens and more likely to turn to violence and crime. That’s why they want to turn local police officers into immigration enforcement officials, ignoring the fact that if undocumented victims are afraid to report crimes, that leaves more criminals at large out there to prey on everyone else.
King and his fellow anti-immigrant extremists don’t care about the real world and its consequences. They’re obsessed with their anti-immigrant crusade, and are determined to push through their purge.