King rips RNC plan’s position on immigration

DES MOINES – Iowa Congressman Steve King on Friday criticized a Republican National Committee report aimed at turning around the party’s losing ways, describing its efforts at outreach to Latino voters as political opportunism.

“I think the party would have been significantly better off if that document had never been released,” King said during taping of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press.”

King, who is weighing a U.S. Senate campaign, said the call in the March RNC report for comprehensive immigration reform is at odds with the GOP’s tradition for law and order.

The report, put together as a response to the party’s defeat in the 2012 presidential campaign, blames Republican opposition to allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the country for its declining support among Latinos.

King, a staunch opponent to such a pathway, said bending on such a key principle as a way to attract more Latino voters would dilute Republican principles.

“I don’t know of a time that anyone would sacrifice the rule of law to start a conversation,” he said.

Exit polling showed President Barack Obama won more than 70 percent of the Hispanic vote. King said Republicans such as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who criticized Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s position on immigration after the election, were doing so to assess blame for the loss. Romney opposes allowing immigrants who are in the United States illegally to pursue citizenship without leaving the country.

“They were opportunist to try to make an excuse for why we lost that election,” King said.

He also said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a prospective 2016 Republican presidential candidate, would face a backlash in early primary states such as Iowa for his work on trying to negotiate an immigration bill expected to include provisions to allow millions of immigrants to remain in the country.

“It’s a hard thing to answer,” King said.