President Obama challenged illegal immigration hardliner, Congressman Steve King, the Republican from Iowa, in an interview with National Public Radio.
“Steve King and I fundamentally disagree on immigration,” he said, bringing up the Iowa congressman, unprompted by the host.
“If your view is that immigrants are either fundamentally bad to the country or that we actually have the option of deporting 11 million immigrants, regardless of the disruptions, regardless of the cost, and that that is who we are as Americans, I reject that,” he said.
Obama suggested that executive amnesty could actually encourage Republicans to act on the issue before the next election.
“By me having taken these actions, does that spur those voices in the Republican Party who I think genuinely believe immigration is good for our country?” he asked.
Obama added that he was optimistic about Republicans who did want immigration reform, but he warned of a “nativist” trend in the party.
“Does it spur them to work once again with Democrats and my administration to get a reasonable piece of legislation done?” he asked. “Or does it simply solidify what I do think is…is a nativist trend in parts of the Republican Party?”
Addressing Republican concerns on immigration reform, Obama suggested that illegal immigrants were not a drain on the federal government’s social programs.
“Generally, these folks don’t use a lot of services, and my executive action specifically is crafted so that they’re not a drain on taxpayers; instead, they’re going to be paying taxes, and we can make sure that they are,” he said.