Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky was at a fundraiser in Okoboji, Iowa, sitting down to eat next to Rep. Steve King of Iowa. A young lady named Erika Andiola and some other activists approached the table where King and Paul were sitting and handed King a card. It was her DACA card, her documentation that allows her to stay in the U.S. for two years, though she is not legally a citizen.
A DACA card is document issued under the orders of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order. The order, issued by President Obama, is a point of fiery contention for some in Congress, including Steve King. King supported a bill in the House to end DACA.
According to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services website, the purpose of DACA is to allow law enforcement to focus their efforts on “the removal of individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety.” By allowing people who meet certain criteria to stay within the U.S. without fear of deportation, DACA helps ensure that the “DHS will exercise prosecutorial discretion as appropriate to ensure that enforcement resources are not expended on low priority cases, such as individuals who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines.”
But Steve King did not see it that way. He believes that DACA provides a portal for drug smuggling into the United States. King asserts that for every DACA participant who does well in school “there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they have calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
Erika Andiola was there at the fundraiser, standing over King and Rand Paul’s table, to confront King about statements he had made. Rand Paul, whom many Republicans hope will get into the 2016 presidential fray, shook the hands of the activists standing at his table, took a bite from his burger, and ran off like he suddenly remember someplace he needed to be.
The GOP has publicly stated that they must start ingratiating themselves to Hispanics in some way if they are to have a prayer of winning the White House again, ever.
According to the Census Bureau, the long-standing white majority in America will be gone by 2043. In fact, Latinos are set to replace whites as the largest ethnic group in California this year.
If Rand Paul were to take the bait of a confrontation from immigrant activists, anything he said would likely be on YouTube before the day was over and come back to haunt him in any number of elections to come. In fact, the exchange with King did make it to YouTube.
Maybe in Rand Paul’s case, eat and run was the best choice. But what that really translates to is that his true feelings on immigration would be bound to alienate someone, either his current voter base, or the base he hopes to attract for the future.
Image via YouTube