An 11-year-old girl admits that she was disappointed by the response she got from Rep. Scott DesJarlais last week when she asked him a question regarding her father.
In a short video that has now gone viral, Josie Molina is heard saying to DesJarlais, “I have a dad and he's undocumented. What can I do so he can stay with me?” she asked.
Molina asked the question during a town hall meeting in Rutherford County last week.
DesJarlais' answer sparked applause from the crowd, but has created some serious criticism for the lawmaker online.
“We have laws, and we need to follow those laws and, you know, that's where we're at,” he responded.
Molina was among a group of about 90 people, mostly immigrants and their families, who attended the meeting eager to talk about immigration reform.
The decision to ask the question was hers, Molina told Nashville's News 2.
“I was nervous, sort of scared,” she said.
She admits she was disappointed to hear the lawmaker's answer.
“I was kind of mad and sort of sad,” Molina explained.
Molina's father is an immigrant from El Salvador who is facing deportation proceedings.
“There is a humanitarian crisis going on and Josie was brave enough to say what it is,” said the little girl's mother, Megan Macaraeg.
Tuesday morning, DesJarlais released a statement regarding the video.
He said, “I felt I owed Ms. Molina an honest answer to her question. We are a nation of laws and breaking those laws have consequences.”
He continued, “While this country has always had a generous immigration policy, we simply cannot condone individuals coming here illegally. As a Member of Congress, I strongly believe I have a responsibility to be truthful, even if that means delivering difficult news.”
Some immigration groups say the issue is not as cut and dry as DesJarlais suggests.
- August 20, 2013: Scott DesJarlais' immigration comment to little girl goes viral