A so-called “rally” with Republicans’ leading anti-immigrant spokesman, Rep. Steve King (R-IA), flopped big time this week. While the event was widely publicized as a national kickoff to stir up opponents of reform, attendance went far below the expected turnout, with a reported meager 14-60 immigration opponents showing up to welcome the notoriously offensive and anti-immigrant congressman.
Reporters on the scene documented the sparse attendance. Politico’s Seung Min Kim tweeted the following:
Things went downhill fast for King. As the event unfolded, individuals and organizations across the country ridiculed the congressman on social media for falling so short of expectations. (He was also mocked for outlandish statements about how “civilizations” become more violent “the further south you go.”)
But when the newspapers published their full reports, something felt different. From reading the headlines, you’d think something big took place and anti-immigrants actually had momentum.
One headline read, “Steve King Hits the Road on Immigration.” Another: “Anti-Immigration Rally Kicks Off Push to Block Law Change” – not even hinting at the event’s dismal failure and validating the congressman’s rants about civilizations and violence.
From reading those reports, you’d think the event was a harmless success and not the complete failure it was.
As conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin put it, some of the media outlets present chose to “take King seriously and accord him relevance in the current debate,” even though there was nothing in the gathering that warranted serious coverage.
Event failures and offensive statements aside, here are the facts that matter:
The immigrant-rights movement has been relentlessly active for years to gain support, and we’re going stronger than ever throughout the August congressional recess.
This means that families, organizers, workers and students are taking to the streets and taking action to build power from the ground up in order to keep their families together. And it’s yielding results.
Through hard work, we are flipping opponents of reform to our side. More and more Republicans are coming out in favor of an earned path to citizenship – the essential component of any adequate immigration reform. And with hundreds of events coming up across the country , our movement will only get stronger. We’ll only convince more Republicans that reform is not only the right thing to do, but it’s the only way for Republicans to give themselves a chance at political survival.
Our events this summer offer a stark contrast from what the press covered this week in Rep. King’s event. Together, our events embody a historic, nationwide civil rights movement powered by hard-working parents that contribute to this country because they’ll do anything for their children. Our movement’s families are bound by so much love that they’ll do anything to stay together. We are taking to the streets, organizing and making history with the arc of the moral universe bending in our favor.
Now that’s a story worth covering.