SIOUX CITY | Iowa 4th District Rep. Steve King said Friday he had a productive personal talk with President Donald Trump about the need to block a program that gives undocumented workers who entered the U.S. illegally as children the chance to apply for citizenship.
The Kiron Republican said he and Trump spoke Thursday about DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which King called an "unconstitutional" program set up by former President Barack Obama "for illegal aliens that undermines the rule of law in America."
Starting in 2012, an estimated 1.2 million undocumented young adults were allowed to live and work in the United States. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security was barred from deporting those covered to their home countries.
Trump rescinded the program in September and gave the GOP-controlled Congress until March 5 to agree on legislation that would offer similar protections to those covered by DACA.
Minority Democrats were denied a vote earlier this week to take up the program. Republican leaders said they expect compromise legislation to emerge early next year. Trump and Republicans are pushing for additional security at the Mexican border and other immigration steps in exchange for keeping DACA.
"The vast majority of Republicans want to see a DACA solution. They just want to see a DACA solution that's balanced," House Speaker Paul Ryan said.
King, who has long been a hardliner on immigration, said he "encouraged the president to keep the promise, first articulated by candidate Donald Trump on June 16, 2015, to end DACA."
In a news release and accompanying video, King shared policy proposals he would like Trump to address in DACA negotiations in 2018. Those included "making English the official language of the United States; ensuring illegal aliens are not counted by the census for purposes of Congressional apportionment; ending tax deductions taken by employers of illegal aliens; and ending the current practice of granting automatic US citizenship upon birth to the children of illegal aliens."
Back in September, King used his Twitter account to write that Trump would blow up his base of conservative support and have no credibility, if the president takes what King considers a soft stance on immigration.
King retweeted a Tweet linking to an Associated Press story that cited Democratic leaders and read, "BREAKING: Schumer, Pelosi announce deal with Trump to protect young immigrants; will include border security, but no wall."
King then topped that tweet with his own take, writing, "@RealDonaldTrump If AP is correct, Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible."