Iowa Latinos Mobilize off Rep. Steve King's Rhetoric

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Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King may soon feel some pushback from Latinos in his home state, who say they can no longer just ignore him or shake their heads at his rhetoric.

King has raised hackles with comments made over the years: that an electrified fence could be used to deter illegal border crossings, similar to keeping livestock contained, and that some young immigrants have calves the size of cantaloupes because they haul marijuana across the desert.

 Most recently, King slammed plans by fellow Republicans to push a bill that would allow young immigrants here illegally to join the military. “As soon as they raise their hand and say ‘I’m unlawfully present in the United States,’ we’re not going to take your oath into the military, but we’re going to take your deposition and we have a bus for you to Tijuana,” said King.

Joe Enriquez Henry, state director of the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa, (LULAC-Iowa) said he’s been asked over the years by leaders of the non-Hispanic community, usually Democrats, what Hispanic leaders planned to do about King.

Generally, the community didn’t have a way to respond, Henry said. But in the past three years, that has changed.

“Those of us in the Iowa Latino community, we are going to strike back,” Henry said. “We didn’t have the ability to organize, but in the past three years, we’ve had many activists step up, we’ve generated a lot of energy and response to people who use hate to promote themselves. He is using this hate and racism to promote his position in Congress.”

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