GOP Congressman: President Obama Playing 'Race Bait Games' with Arizona Immigration Law

On the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday evening, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, suggested that President Obama has racial bias. The comments came in the context of President Obama’s objection to Arizona’s new immigration law. The White House had no comment. King -- who has a history of making rather strident remarks about Mr. Obama -- said “the President of the United States says, ‘Here's what could happen under Arizona law if a mother and her daughter are going out to get some ice cream, somebody can come along and say, Where are your papers?’ Anybody remember that?... The President of the United States made it political. And he's the man that ordered a Justice Department investigation of Arizona? And he alleges--the President alleges--that it's race-based and racially motivated when the law itself specifically prohibits that from happening.” On April 27, President Obama told a crowd in Ottumwa, Iowa, that “you can try to make it really tough on people who look like they, quote, unquote look like illegal immigrants. One of the things that the law says is that local officials are allow to ask somebody who they have a suspicion might be an illegal immigrant for their papers -- but you can imagine if you are a Hispanic American in Arizona, your great, great grandparents may have been there before Arizona was even a state. But now suddenly if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re going to be harassed, that’s something that could potentially happen.” King said Thursday, “we can't have the presumption on the part of the President of the United States or the Attorney General that the law enforcement officers in Arizona are motivated by something other than race. Maybe they're motivated to support the rule of law. Couldn't we presume that that's it?” King assailed “the effort to go down and make race the issue when it is law enforcement that is the problem and that Federal immigration law that's not being adequately enforced is the problem” as well as the “President's supposition that a mother and her daughter would be perhaps of the wrong skin tone and they would be picked up and asked for their identification because they went out to get some ice cream.” The King took it to someplace else, saying that “it seems the President has an inclination to engage in these kinds of things. When he had an Irish cop and a black professor, who did he side with? He jumped to a conclusion without having heard the facts, and he ended up having to have a beer summit.” King said that “maybe we could have a summit with Sheriff Joe Arpaio on the South Lawn of the White House, and they could sit down at the picnic table together and discuss these things so that all of the resources of the Federal Government don't have to be tied up in knots on these suppositions for the unfounded presumption that there is something unconstitutional about Arizona law or something that violates Federal statute.” King disputed those who say Arizona's law “institutionalizes racial profiling. No, it prohibits racial profiling as far as an exclusive component of reasonable suspicion or probable cause.” “It's clear, of course, that (President Obama) doesn't want to have racial profiling used, and I would agree with him--as an exclusive component,” King said. “However, if it's part of the other indicators, it had better be used. Would we say that we can't use as an indicator when it comes time to enforce the law against international terrorism that a young Middle Eastern male cannot be considered as one of the factors? We've kind of said that when people go through the airport. I think it's wrong. I think it's foolish. … I think it's downright stupid to set aside our common sense for the sake of political correctness.” When it comes to immigration laws, King said, “We need a mission at the top. The President of the United States has got to articulate a mission. Instead, he is playing race bait games to undermine the law enforcement in the State of Arizona and across the country, and undermining the efforts of our Border Patrol, ICE, and customs border protection.” - Jake Tapper

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