The 4th district of Iowa was remapped in 2003 and consisted of the central north portion of the state. In 2013, it was yet again redistricted and the incumbent Tom Latham opted to move to the 3rd district leaving Steve King (the 5th district incumbent) to govern the 4th district which he has continued to do for six years. Over the course of the last few elections, King has won relatively comfortably with the closest race coming in 2012 where he won 53% of the votes. These counties include an overwhelming Republican contingency which is reflected in their annual appointment of a Republican senator dating back to 1994. Furthermore, there is a polarizing ethnic makeup, with nearly 96% of the population as white. Lastly, the median is around $55,000 which is slightly below the state average.
There are a few theories of existing literature which can help us better understand policy making with regards to immigration and are pertinent to Iowa’s 4th district. In Wong’s piece, she points out how pro-restriction and pro-immigrant groups are overwhelmingly influenced by party composition. Republicans tend to support stricter borders, while Democrats argue that a more liberal approach is beneficial for our country. As a result, Republican counties are more likely to not only support anti-immigration sentiment, but also cooperate with federal law enforcement to combat the problem of illegal aliens. In Casellas’ article he discusses the economic tension which can arise with migrant workers seeking low skilled jobs. He proposes that counties with lower income individuals would support strict immigration laws in order to ensure their job security. Wong also comments on the phenomenon that when there are rapid changes in racial or ethnic makeups, this can be accompanied by negative opinions towards migrants. Though there are economic and demographic factors which are import to acknowledge, the most important variable, which is echoed throughout the existing literature, is that policy making is most notably affected by political factors as legislators consistently act along party lines when discussing immigration.
Given these trends from the previous slide, we can now predict immigration policy in Iowa’s 4th district. Every county within the 4th district is Republican. With this rampant conservative partisanship throughout King’s region it would be safe to say they would support anti-immigration policy. Not only are Republicans more likely to support regulatory bills, they are twice as likely to offer restrictionist amendments. As previously discussed, the evidence across multiple studies shows that partisanship has the largest effect on immigration legislation, and Republicans overwhelmingly vote against immigration. Additionally, Wong mentions the theory of identity politics, that immigration policies are shaped by societal definitions of citizenship. She continues to say that areas with large and rapid changes in ethnic makeup, like the 130% increase in Latinos since 2000, would likely be accompanied by increased cooperation with federal law enforcement, and removal of any illegal immigrants. This seemingly homogenous distribution of white, lower class, republican members of the 4th district would provoke incredibly anti-immigrant policy making.
Steve King’s website clearly conveys his message on immigration. He believes that as a country we must secure our borders in order to keep the illegal aliens out. King has even proposed a wall, similar to Trump’s design, but incorporated a layer of barbed wire at the top. He adamantly opposes amnesty and has compared the separation of families at the border to abortion seperating a baby from his/her mother. All five paragraphs on his website exhibit intense rhetoric demonizing illegal immigrants and condemning their presence in America. In addition to the wall, he has filed the Illegal Deduction Elimination Act which would make wages paid to illegal immigrants non-deductible for businesses. He also reintroduced for the fifth time the Birthright Citizens Act which would restrict the automatic citizenship to any child born to illegal-alien parents in the United States, which received twenty cosponsors. Immigration appears to be of the utmost importance to King as nearly ⅓ of his voting history resides within immigration matters.