DETROIT -- Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday called on Republicans to take action immediately and address the need for immigration reform. Speaking to progressive activists at the Netroots Nation conference in Detroit amid the escalating border crisis, Schumer asserted the need for a comprehensive immigration bill, suggesting a piece-by-piece approach would be like issuing aspirin for a heart attack.
Schumer said Republicans could secure a win for immigration, and cited the courage of Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in pushing for reform.
"But Steve King still holds that gavel," he said, pointing a finger of blame at the Republican representative from Iowa known for his gross opposition to the immigrant population and immigration reform. King once compared undocumented youths to drug mules, and recently challenged Schumer to a metaphorical duel over immigration reform and who's the bigger xenophobe.
Immigration reform is inevitable, Schumer explained, so Americans should stand up to "the Steve Kings" and push for immediate change.
The senator also railed against King during an interview with The Huffington Post Thursday prior to his speech, calling on House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to stand up to him for the good of his own party.
"A hard-right hateful wing of the Republican Party is governing immigration policy, led by Steve King, who has said some of the most hateful, disgusting things. And yet he has the veto power," said Schumer. "When he tells Boehner not to bring something up, he doesn't. When he tells Boehner to bring something up, he all too often does."
Schumer predicted that if Republicans continue to block comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship, Democrats will win the presidency, the House and the Senate.
Schumer was among the original "gang of eight" that pitched a comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in July of 2013.