July 8, 2017

THE CONFEDERATE FLAG IS THE PERFECT SYMBOL:

American farmers are facing a political paradox because of Republicans' hard line on immigration (Dana Varinsky , 7/07/17, Business Insiders)

The congressman who has represented northwest Iowa for 15 years once suggested that Mexican immigrants had "calves the size of cantaloupes" from smuggling drugs across the border. He has been seen with a Confederate flag on his desk (though Iowa supported the Union Army), and he tweeted in March that the US "can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies."

He even built a model of a border wall on the floor of Congress in 2006 -- nearly a decade before Donald Trump adopted the cause.

But on the farms that fill Steve King's district, his constituents have more nuanced, complicated politics than the Republican congressman's rhetoric might suggest.

Thousands of immigrants have moved to northwest Iowa in recent decades, attracted by farms and meat producers in need of workers willing to raise pigs, milk cows, or butcher animals. Between 2000 and 2015, the Latino population in Sioux Center, one of the larger cities in the district, more than tripled. According to the census, King's district is now home to nearly 50,000 people who consider themselves Hispanic or Latino -- about 6% of the area's population. 

That means that even some of King's supporters -- he took 61% of the vote in November -- are being forced to reconcile their conservative politics with a business reality that has taken on a moral weight. They rely on immigrants, and some will go to extraordinary lengths to support them.


Posted by at July 8, 2017 8:09 AM

  

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