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FOX News "On The Record With Greta VanSusteren" - Transcript


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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Hold onto your seats because two brawls are exploding. Republican congressman Steve King just introduced a bill demanding an end to automatic citizenship for children of illegal immigrants, the so-called "anchor babies."

Also, if you thought the health care fight in Congress was bloody the last time, well, get ready because the sequel is here! Today the House set the stage for a debate and vote next week on repealing the president's health care law.

Congressman Steve King went "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, nice to see you, sir.

REP. STEVE KING, R-IOWA: Nice to see you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you for letting us come to your office.

KING: Appreciate you coming here. This is door-to-door service.

VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed, it is. All right, health care -- I imagine you're quite pleased as to the progress of the health care bill -- the repeal of the health care bill, I should say.

KING: Oh! I'm so happy that we're at this point, Greta. It's -- we fought this with everything we could, and tens of thousands of people came to this Capitol building several times to petition the government peacefully for redress of grievances. And still they wouldn't listen. They passed "Obamacare." They crammed it down the throats of the American people. The American people rose up.

I woke up the following morning and drafted legislation to repeal "Obamacare." Michelle Bachmann did that simultaneously. Within three minutes of each other, our bills came down, worked on that all along, and now the language that I introduced and turned into a discharge petition that accumulated 173 signatures throughout the summer now is before this Congress almost in its complete original part I on order to repeal "Obamacare," pull it out by the roots, lock, stock and barrel, so that not one vestige of it is left behind.

I don't want this malignant tumor of "Obamacare" to metastasize. We've got to get rid of it, and this is the beginning of the effort to repeal "Obamacare."

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so you have a lot of excitement now. There'll be a lot of excitement when there's the vote to repeal here in the House. But as a practical matter, that elation you feel right now is going to, I suspect, dissipate because this is as far as's going to go, is that not true?

KING: Well, I have a habit of turning elation into resolve. And this resolve is this, that I've always known and throughout all of last year, I have made the argument that we first have to pass the repeal of "Obamacare" with the new majority. Then we have to shut off the funding that would go to implement or enforce "Obamacare" in every appropriations bill...

VAN SUSTEREN: So you're going to put the financial squeeze on.

KING: Put the financial squeeze on. And there's a standard constitutional practice for that. That shut off the funding for the Vietnam war. You can shut off the funding for "Obama care." And we would do that through 2011 and 2012 and until such time as we elect a president who I hope the first act of office will be to sign the final repeal of "Obama care" and put an end to this.

It's going to be a long, hard slog. We do have a chance, though, to put an end to it early, and that's this, that the continuing resolution, the CR, has extended the funding for the federal government until March 4th. That means we have to take up the appropriations for the balance of this fiscal year in February. Now, if we write into that language -- and I think we must write language into that appropriations bill -- that none of the funds that can be used to implement or enforce "Obamacare." If we do that and the House has resolve, we could actually get this -- get the "Obamacare" issue behind us and move on to more positive things in the new 112th Congress.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. The other issue I came to talk to you about is your legislation where you seek to limit when someone is born here in the United States to illegal aliens here in the United States -- you want to -- you do not want them to have citizenship, is that right?

KING: It is. If you look at the -- it's a practice to grant automatic citizenship to babies born in the United States, it's not a law and it's not a constitutional directive. The Constitution, in the 14th Amendment, says all persons born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are American citizens. The clause "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" was written in there intentionally.

First I should say that the 14th Amendment came in right after the Civil War. And the purpose of it was to ensure that babies born to newly freed slaves would be American citizens. So it had a noble cause. And they wrote the exemption in there, the clause "subject to the jurisdiction thereof," to accommodate for children born to diplomatic corps, for example, children born specifically on individual Indian reservations, where there were different categories for citizenship.

And so that clause lets us address this from a statutory fashion, rather than having to amend the Constitution. I think it's important that we put the marker down, put an end to automatic citizenship. There are roughly between 340,000...

VAN SUSTEREN: But isn't...

KING: ... and 750,000 babies brought into America for that reason.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, this directed at the babies. But isn't your real rub with the presence of illegal adults in this country? I mean, if the -- but for the illegal adults in this country, wouldn't have these infants being born in this country. Agree?

KING: Well, I do agree.

VAN SUSTEREN: So isn't the -- so rather than sort of targeting the babies, why not back it up a little bit and really do something about the illegal immigration in this country and come to some sort of resolution or solution? We're here in the United States Congress. The Obama administration just told Arizona that it's the federal government's job to take care of immigration, illegal and legal immunity. So if you guys do your job, we don't have to do -- we don't have to worry about these babies.

KING: If we had done our job, we wouldn't have an anchor baby industry here in the United States. I do agree with that. And here's the path that we need to follow. First of all, we have not had an administration that was committed to enforcing immigration law for a long time. This Congress can't enforce it, we can only embarrass the administration into it. But we can move some legislation to do so.

VAN SUSTEREN: But you can create -- I mean, you can do something about illegal immigration. The Congress can.

KING: We can pass legislation.

VAN SUSTEREN: You can pass legislation. But I mean, there hasn't been anything done in years on illegal immigration. There's just a lot of chatter (INAUDIBLE) people complain about it. People do a lot of things talking about it. But the fact is, we went down to that border and we've looked at the existing situation in this country. Nothing's become done! Republicans don't want to do anything about it. Democrats won't do anything about it. The American people are frustrated!

KING: Well, Greta, I do want to do something about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I know you...

KING: I want to do a lot about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: (INAUDIBLE) you've actually done a lot, but (INAUDIBLE) you're going after the babies when why not go after the adults?

KING: Here's the -- here's the spectrum on what we need to do immigration-wise. Yes, we need to stop the anchor baby industry. That's - - I'm committed to that. But step one needs to be stop the bleeding at the border. We have illegal traffic coming across the border. Ninety percent of the illegal drugs consumed in the United States come from or through Mexico. We do get the crime and the violence that comes from that.

Our border patrol people will tell you even under oath that they stop perhaps 25 percent of those who attempt to cross. If you go down there and ask them -- and you've been there and probably asked them. They tell me 10 percent has to come first (ph). So if we get 90 percent inefficiency for $12 billion, can't we take that $6 million a mile and build a fence, a wall and a fence, and direct all traffic through the ports of entry? I think we need to do that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Would it have been different if you'd been made the chairman of the subcommittee on immigration? Because you know, that -- many of us thought that you were going to have that chairmanship

KING: Would it have been different? It wouldn't change my agenda.

VAN SUSTEREN: It wouldn't change your agenda but what you could do.

KING: It makes a difference on the effectiveness, and it clearly does. And we're within a couple of hours of me learning what you've just said. But it doesn't change my agenda. I will -- I will continue to drive an agenda at least as in a aggressive fashion as I might have had I been chairman of the immigration subcommittee.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Iowa -- how does illegal immigration affect Iowa? You're a little bit of a distance from the border that creates a lot of the problems, the Mexican-U.S. border, but you're near Canada, somewhat -- at least a lot closer. How does illegal immigration affect your state?

KING: It's not something that drives me politically so much because of the make-up of my district or the state. But I'm rooted in the rule of law. I grew up in a law enforcement family. I think the rule of law is an essential pillar of American exceptionalism.

However, we do have meat food processing, meat packing industry, and a generation or less ago, they went to Mexico to recruit cheap labor. So I live halfway in between Dennison and Storm Lake. They're both meat packing towns. I was born in Storm Lake. I grew up in Dennison. I live halfway between. So I live this and I understand it. I understand how it affects the communities.

But I'm really concerned about, if you grant amnesty to people -- and I've met people that got the amnesty in 1986. They think it's a good deal. They advocate it for anybody that can speak into America. Once you grant them amnesty, you have undermined the rule of law and you've created a magnet to bring more people into the United States.

The anchor baby issue is a magnet for the parents to come in, and amnesty is a magnet to -- for more illegal people to come in. So first, we need to stop the bleeding at the border, and then we need to shut off the jobs magnet and every other magnet in America. And most of this won't require a heavy-handed enforcement. It just requires us to enforce current laws where they are.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you may get the opportunity to do more because now your party is in the leadership here in the House of Representatives. So this whole illegal immigration -- you guys are in the driver's seat, at least on the House side.

KING: Well, we are, and we do need to drive some policy. And there's a piece of policy that I have advocated here for several years that I think'll have the most impact on immigration. And it's called the New Idea Act. (INAUDIBLE) many new ideas in this Congress, but I had enough audacity to name it the New Idea Act, and...

VAN SUSTEREN: Good name!

KING: Yes, I think so.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't know what it is, but the name sounds good!

KING: Well, it stands for the Illegal Deduction Elimination Act. And what it does, it brings the IRS into the enforcement and it denies wages and benefits paid to illegals as a tax-deductible item, as a business expense. So it goes over...

VAN SUSTEREN: Does that mean you're going to go after more corporations? I mean, one of the -- one of the -- one of the -- one of the things people say is that corporations don't want to do anything about illegal immigration because they have their cheap labor, or they look the other way when they get a false Social Security number.

KING: There's truth to that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you -- do you want to aggressively go after the corporations that are part of the system of hiring illegal immigrants?

KING: I think if my bill passes, the New Idea Act passes, I don't think we need to aggressively go after the corporations. We just let the IRS do their normal audit practices that they're doing today. They would run the Social Security numbers of the employees through e-verify. We'd give the employer safe harbor if they use e-verify. But the IRS then can deny the deductibility. That turns your $10-an-hour illegal into $16-an- hour illegal by the time the interest, the penalty and the taxes are paid. An employer can make a rational decision on whether they want to clean up their workforce or they want to accumulate a potential tax liability.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why not put teeth in it, put criminal penalty into it?

KING: Well...

VAN SUSTEREN: Let them face jail. I mean, what you've laid out is a civil penalty, and some corporations may think it's better to roll the dice and get a civil penalty than to not hire illegals. But if you put a criminal penalty into it, it might put more teeth into the legislation.

KING: It would put more teeth into it, and then we'd have to rely upon the executive branch, the Department of Homeland Security to enforce it. I think the IRS does a good job of enforcing. They seem to...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... you do both. You do both.

KING: We could do both. But there's something else that adds more teeth to that, and that's a six-year statute of limitations. And so an employer can think of one year of exposure and maybe not have an audit, or two or three. But while that's going on, their liability accumulates year by year. So if you had paid a million dollars out to illegals in a year and perhaps you're looking at as much as a $500,000 interest penalty and tax liability if audited, then after that goes over six years, that becomes $3 million. I'm going to want to clean up my workforce before then and hold my breath that the IRS didn't show up before the limitations expires.

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