Last summer, immigration-hawk Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) caused some controversy by saying in an interview with NewsMax that for every undocumented immigrant child “who’s a valedictorian, there’s another hundred out there…hauling seventy-five pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
King faced criticism both from Democrats and his Republican colleagues alike. The Washington Post tried to fact-check King’s claims, but he never told them where he got his figures. His comments were made in opposition to the DREAM Act, that critics say provide “amnesty” for immigrants who came to America illegally.
With the recent failure of immigration reform in Congress, which according to CBS news has been shelved “for several years,” there still seems to be a push from the Obama administration to see that it gets done. However, Rep. King is back in the news after the recent arrest of six Mexicans at the border carrying over 300 pounds of marijuana, four of which were under the age of 18. According to The Washington Times, the youngest arrested was a 12 year-old boy who was carrying the heaviest load at 80 pounds.
King is quoted in the article as if this vindicates his previous claim, saying his “critics were either woefully misinformed or deliberately misinformed the public for the purpose of advancing their amnesty agenda.” However, this doesn’t actually prove anything other than conditions in Mexico, especially for children like that boy, are far from ideal.
An Associated Press article from March of 2012 highlighted the increasing use of children as “drug mules” by the Mexican drug cartels. This is a large problem—affecting both Mexico and the U.S.—and that has never been denied. Yet, King’s assertion that these unfortunate children are the norm for undocumented children living within the U.S. is absurd. These kids are not living in the U.S. and going back-and-forth to Mexico, but are in fact victims of the real villains, the cartels.
There is no way to know if the number of valedictorians that are undocumented immigrants in any way compare to the number of children used to smuggle illegal drugs into the U.S. However, one would think that children in that circumstance would be better cared for in America than left to live short, terrible lives serving violent drug cartels.