Saturday, January 8, 2011
WASHINGTON -- Iowa Republican and anti-illegal immigration hardliner Steve King was passed over for the leading position on the House immigration subcommittee on Friday.
Having served as ranking member on the subcommittee since 2007, King was expected to be given the chairmanship this year. Instead, Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) selected Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), another immigration hawk with a slightly lower media profile.
Taking up the mantle of former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), King has advocated for a variety of anti-illegal immigration proposals during his time in Congress, including building an electric border fence. "It would simply be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it," said King of the proposed fence. "We do that with livestock all the time."
Somos Republicans, an Arizona-based Latino group, urged House Republican leaders in November to keep King out of the immigration chairman position. In a letter to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the group argued allowing King and Smith to lead on immigration would alienate Latino voters.