Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) abruptly bolted from a dinner table in Iowa as immigration activists confronted U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) about his vote to end the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that has shielded hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Erika Andiola, the co-founder of the DREAM Action Coalition, introduced herself to both King and Paul, who was beginning a three-day tour in Iowa amid a flurry of 2016 presidential speculation. Andiola then told King she was a “DREAMer.” Paul, in mid-bite, left the table after a nod from an adviser.
“Senator Paul had a media availability after the event, and that’s where we had to be,” Paul spokesman Sergio Gor told Business Insider in an email.
A spokesman for Paul didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment as to why he exited the table.
After Paul left, Andiola handed King a piece of paper showing her status as a beneficiary of the DACA program.
“I know you really want to get rid of DACA, so I just wanted to give you the opportunity and rip mine,” she said.
“This is not what I do,” King said, standing up.
The two entered into a somewhat lengthy back and forth, during which King defended his view that the DACA program has contributed to the crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, where thousands of unaccompanied children have flowed across this year.
Andiola confronted King about a comment he made last year, when he said the vast majority of undocumented immigrants had “calves the size of cantaloupes” because they were smuggling drugs across the border.
“I spoke of drug smugglers,” he told Andiola on Monday. “Now, you’re not here to tell me you’re one of them, are you?”
“Do I look like a drug smuggler to you?” she said.
Watch the video below:
This post has been updated to include a statement from Paul’s spokesman.
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