Grassley: Immigration Debate Shouldn’t Be About Rep. King

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) looks on during a hearing before the Senate Budget Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. (Stephen Mally/Freelance)

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By Ellen Kurt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Sen. Chuck Grassley declined to weigh in on the merits of fellow Republican Rep. Steve King’s comments about illegal immigrants, but said that if the debate gets stuck on any one member of Congress the opportunity for reform will be lost.

“If this becomes a debate about one person we probably won’t end up with any immigration law at all,” Grassley told reporters Wednesday.

He cautioned against losing sight of the big picture – immigration reform that secures the nation’s borders. Grassley voted against the measure in the Senate because he believed it lacked border security.

So the debate in the GOP-controlled House is more important than the Senate action because “I’m hoping to get a bill out of the House with border security.”

He was asked to comment on King’s statement about young illegal immigrants.

“They aren’t all valedictorians,” King told Newsmax. “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another hundred out there that they weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

It’s important to keep the focus on “fixing the really big problems,” Grassley said, “and find a solution that is first and foremost about securing the border.”

On the other hand, he said, if the debate focused on King or any single member of Congress “I think we’re going to lose a chance for real reform.”
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