U.S. House Speaker John Boehner is right in saying that the offensive comments Rep. Steve King recently made, comparing the Dreamers with human mules who smuggle drugs, is "deeply offensive and wrong," and "does not reflect the values of the American people or the Republican Party."
Then why is King still a member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Border Security?
This congressman's contributions to the current immigration debate are no better than his previous statements. About the border, he compared immigrants with cattle, and previously he had mentioned how dogs are selected as an example of choosing the immigrants who can enter the country.
Boehner has the authority, which he already exercised before, to remove troublesome lawmakers from their committees. If he removes King, he will stop the lawmaker from being his party's voice for a hateful message on immigration at the House of Representatives.
By not removing him from the immigration subcommittee, Boehner would be contradicting what he said with his own actions. Under the current circumstances, no one comes out well except for King--who is becoming increasingly defiant--and those who support his outrageous declarations.
This situation harms both Republicans and the Latino electorate. With people like King at the forefront, it is almost impossible for Hispanics, who identify with other aspects of the Republican message--like smaller government and fewer taxes--to be able to feel comfortable next to individuals like this congressman, who continuously spew venom against immigrants.
The deliberate self-exclusion of Republicans--because of King's rabidly anti-immigrant message--is detrimental to Latinos, since it reduces their political options. Not to mention that it hurts Republicans by losing votes.
Beyond the final outcome of immigration reform in the lower chamber, Boehner can send a very powerful signal about Republican values by removing King from the Immigration Subcommittee.