Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was right: illegal alien minors have, in fact, been used to smuggle large volumes of illicit drugs into the United States of America on behalf of Mexican drug cartels. Journalist Lorne Matalon reported for Fronteras in mid-December 2013 that U.S. authorities arrested six Mexican nationals–including four minors–attempting to carry marijuana across the border.
“U.S. Border Patrol agents have arrested six Mexicans with more than 300 pounds of marijuana,” Matalon wrote on Dec. 10, 2013. “Four of the six were juveniles including two 17-year-olds, a 16-year-old and a 12-year-old boy. The arrests took place near a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint south of Marfa, Texas, on the road that links Ojinaga, Chihuahua, with borderland Texas.”
Matalon reported that Border Patrol agents say the group carried the marijuana on their backs and attempted to walk around a checkpoint at which drug sniffing dogs were stationed. Reportedly, the 12-year-old boy carried the heaviest load of 80 pounds of marijuana.
“Authorities are looking at the possibilty that the boy and the other juveniles were forced to carry the contraband,” Matalon wrote. “The marijuana and the two adult males were turned over to the Homeland Security Investigations unit for prosecution. One of the 17-year-olds is being held in Jeff Davis County, Texas and the others were returned to Mexico.”
In an interview with NewsMax published in mid-July, Rep. King–an ardent opponent against granting amnesty to illegal aliens–made a comment about young illegal aliens that was criticized by the left-wing media, House GOP leadership, and the Obama administration.
“Some of them are valedictorians — and their parents brought them in,” King argued. “It wasn’t their fault. It’s true in some cases, but they aren’t all valedictorians. They weren’t all brought in by their parents.”
“For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” King added in the interview. “Those people would be legalized with the same act.”
The political establishment jumped at the opportunity to attack King for pointing out those facts. House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), a lawmaker who is writing a bill called the KIDS Act which would grant amnesty to illegal alien youths, rushed in to attack King. “I strongly disagree with his characterization of the children of immigrants and find the comments inexcusable,” Cantor said at the time.
Within minutes, House Speaker John Boehner seconded Cantor’s criticisms. “There can be honest disagreements about policy without using hateful language,” Boehner said in a statement. “Everyone needs to remember that.”
According to Fox News, Boehner went even further at a later press conference, attacking King’s character as a leader. “I want to be clear. There’s no place in this debate for hateful or ignorant comments from elected officials,” Boehner said. “What he said does not reflect the values of the American people or the Republican Party, and we all need to do our work in a constructive, open and respectful way.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney also criticized King: “I think a number of people have pointed out that they were offensive,” Carney said in a comment to reporters aboard Air Force One. “They certainly don’t help any efforts by Republicans to improve their standing among Hispanic Americans, I would assume.”
Shortly after King’s comments, Breitbart News detailed how his statements were factually accurate. Media outlets, from the Christian Science Monitor to local news outlets in San Diego to the Associated Press to Fox News Latino, have confirmed in their reporting what King said: illegal alien minors have been used by drug cartels to smuggle drugs into the United States. A simple Google search from any of them would have confirmed that fact.
Nonetheless, Cantor, Boehner, Carney, and others piled on King for stating the facts–but King stood his ground. In an interview with Breitbart News at the time, King blasted back. “You know when people attack you–in this business, when you’re in this business, you know that when people attack you, and they call you names, they’re diverting from the topic matter,” King said. “You know they’ve lost the debate when they do that. We’ve talked about it for years. Tom Tancredo and I joked about it that that’s the pattern. When people start calling you names, that’s what confirms you’ve won the debate.”
Concerning Boehner and Cantor specifically, King said, “I’ve never seen such lack of restraint on the part of the team of people that have been elected to lead us. The only thing that is logical is that they are seeing their dream of a component of amnesty slip away.”
King also said in his interview with Breitbart News that it appeared that Boehner, Cantor, Carney, and others attacked him without ever reading his comments. “When I read their quotes, I have to believe they didn’t read mine,” King said. “They completely missed the mark. I don’t yet know of anyone who has raised a logical argument against my statement.”
The Dallas Morning News was one of the media outlets that attacked King over the remarks. It issued a searing editorial ripping King for the comments, but on Dec. 27, in response to a Washington Times article regarding the news that Matalon broke in Fronteras, Dallas Morning News editorial writer Rodger Jones argued that, in light of the recent news, his paper should consider issuing a formal apology to King for the attack:
In view of this, do we here at The News have a responsibility to amend the record? This incident shows that youthful drug mules remain at work on the border, despite our assertion that the notion is based in stereotypes. It comes down to the math. Would we claim that King’s 100-1 ratio is merely way wide of the mark? If we went there, wouldn’t we be obligated to find some valedictorians to prove it?
Jones added that he personally does support open borders policies but that such policies should only be advanced with facts: “Don’t get me wrong: I’m more an open-borders guy than anything else, but when a hard-liner on immigration like King asserts something strong, it’s not enough to ridicule and insult and simply pronounce him wrong,” Jones wrote. “The Border Patrol will have a long memory on this issue, and every border drug bust involving kids will be a handy reminder at the agency’s disposal.”
Not one person who attacked King incorrectly, as Breitbart News noted at the time and as the Dallas Morning News‘ Jones and others now admit, has apologized for their inaccuracies.
Nonetheless, King soldiers on against amnesty. “My critics were either woefully uninformed or deliberately misinformed the public for the purpose of advancing their amnesty agenda,” King said in a statement provided to Breitbart News in response to these latest developments.