(CNSNews.com) - "You all know how badly I despise Obamacare," Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told a Capitol Hill news conference on Tuesday. But as bad as Obamacare is, King said he'd rather live with that law than with the "bipartisan" immigration bill introduced in the Senate by the so-called Gang of Eight.
"I've spent years of my life fighting against Obamacare. I've stood here many, many times and done that," King said. I despite that bill because it's an unconstitutional taking of our bodies, our health, our skin and everything inside it. It's terrible and it diminishes the destiny of America.
"But if I have to choose between accepting -- if it came down to this, if it was -- somehow there was an offer that said you're going to get one or the other and you have to choose one, I would take Obamacare and try to live with that before I'd ever accept this amnesty plan because the amnesty plan is far, far worse than Obamacare."
King said Obamacare can be repealed or even paid for over time.
But if the immigration bill becomes law -- giving amnesty to millions of border-jumpers -- there's no undoing it: "That genie cannot be put back in the bottle," King said. "The genie of the left will have escaped from the bottle, and he will be as amorphous as a puff of smoke. You will not get him back in that bottle, and we have to live with this in the American civilization and culture in perpetuity."
King said he's read "significant portions" of the Senate bill, and "it grants amnesty to everybody that's here."
"It sends an invitation to everybody that's been deported in the past and says to them, reapply...reapply to come back to the United States -- and is an implicit promise that everybody that comes here after the deadline, if they can get here after the deadline, will also get amnesty. That's the package. Everybody here, everybody deported, everybody that gets here, all are going to get it unless they're convicted of a felony -- and we'll come across them later.
King said felons will continue to live in the "shadows."
Republicans who joined King at the news conference voiced other objections to the bill, including the financial burden amnesty would place on the United States and what they perceive as the bill's failure to adequately secure the border. Some mentioned how unfair it is to reward people who broke the law to get here.
Several Republicans said it wasn't immigration but "assimilation" that made America great.
"I've noticed that the people (who) are for open borders aren't really the embracers of assimilation," said Rep. Steve King. "And assimilation is what has made America great, the giant melting pot. I'm for that. I want to see people commingle and intermingle. I want to see them embrace this thing I call cultural continuity -- that's the American culture and civilization."
King said immigrants should learn English, and he endorsed legislation to that effect.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) pointed to the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, when people of all races, creeds and colors came together: "We were all simply Americans," he said. "That came from peole immigrating and becom(ing) one people. 'E pluribus unim,' out of many came one people. And that makes us strong."
Gohmert also said granting amnesty to millions of people at one time poses "a danger to this country," because it's impossible for the FBI to check out all of them:
"We have an obligation to this country to make sure that those coming in want to be a part of the greatest nation and are willing to assimilate and be a part and not destructive of this country. And that also includes an enforcement of the visa overstays," Gohmert said.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) said he's the product of legal immigration: "Both my grandparents came from Europe through Ellis Island. So we are a great melting pot of people," he said.