A young girl told Tennessee Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais at a town hall last week that her father was an undocumented immigrant. The girl was asking what she can do so her father would not be forced to leave the country.
“I have a dad, and he’s undocumented, what can I do so that he can stay with me,” the young girl asks.
“Thank you for being here and thank you for coming forward and speaking this is a big intimidating crowd and appreciate you coming forward and asking your question but the answer still kinda remains the same. We have laws, and we need to follow those laws and ya know, that’s where we’re at,” the Congressman said to applause.
According to the description of the video, which was uploaded to YouTube Thursday, the young girl in the video’s name is Josie and her father is currently in deportation proceedings.
But wait! There’s more!:
DesJarlais was speaking at the the Rutherford County Tea Party’s “Conservative Conversation and Cocktails” meeting. According to numerous descriptions of the event the town hall was attended by about 200 people including including Organizing for Action.
So the local Tea Party arranges a meeting with their congressman and OFA shows up with this little girl named Josie who is primed to ask a loaded question. What can the congressman say?
If he says “Enforce the law” he’s heartless. If he says her daddy can stay then he’s agreed to amnesty.
That was Buzzfeed. Here’s how Raw Story framed the incident:
A Tennessee tea party Republican congressman told a frightened little girl at a town hall meeting on Thursday in Murfreesboro, TN that laws are laws and that her undocumented father is going to have to be deported. According to ProgressivePopulist.org, 11-year-old Josie Molina told Rep. Scott Desjarlais (R) that she has papers but her father does not.
During a question and answer session at the meeting, Molina stepped up to the microphone and, with a quavering voice, asked, “Mr. DesJarlais, I have papers, but I have a dad who’s undocumented. What can I do to have him stay with me?”
Rather than make any attempt to assuage the girl’s fears, Desjarlais said, “Thank you for being here and thank you for coming forward and speaking,” but “the answer still kind of remains the same, that we have laws and we need to follow those laws and that’s where we’re at.”
The tea party crowd whooped and applauded wildly as the little girl took her seat, head down. Progressive Populist reported that Josie Molina’s father is currently in the process of being deported and that the girl is seeing a child psychologist in order to cope with the stress and anxiety.
You can find the story at Cheetoville too. Interestingly, none of the versions gives us any information about why her father is being deported. They don’t mention her mother either. Was she even living with her dad? If not, was he paying child support? Who is paying for the child psychologist?
According to Legal Insurrection this looks like it is part of a larger strategy of using emotional appeals about the children of illegal aliens. This ties in with Obama’s Dream Act proposals affecting illegal aliens who came here as young children and then grew up here.
Politically it’s a good strategy. Emotional arguments are always better than logic, at least when it comes to winning elections. But emotion doesn’t solve problems, logic and reason do.
If Republicans want to win this issue they need to talk about the effect of immigration on unemployment. Talking about broken families caused by immigration enforcement is a losing argument for the GOP.
Talk about the broken families caused by unemployment. Talk about the higher cost of social services because American jobs are being taken by immigrants.
Who will be the hardest hit by legalized immigration? Non-public employee unions, blue collar workers, blacks and other American people of color. Meanwhile Big Business and the “1%ers” get cheap labor.