California House Republican Gary Miller told a group of undocumented young people who were brought to this country by their parents that he feels their pain because he was forced to migrate from Arkansas to California as a baby.
During the exchange, which was captured on video, two immigrants tell Miller they are students who want to be “part of this country,” but that their undocumented status is holding them back.
That leads to this conversation:
MILLER: I understand the difficulty … I was born in Arkansas, I came here [to California] when I was 1 year old. Come on, I don’t know. There’s nothing to vote on. See, the [Senate] bill’s going nowhere in the House.
FEMALE: What’s one workable option for immigration reform?
MILLER: We have to create American jobs for American workers first. Then we need to say how do we get a line for citizenship. We need to have a system. Right now, there’s a timeline in which you have to act. Right now, the immigration system is somewhat broken, no matter if you’re coming in from the Middle East or a South American worker, right now, you need a structured guideline. [...]
FEMALE: Once that’s established, then you can talk about a pathway to citizenship.
MILLER: [...] I’ve got to see what comes out. If you ask me what happens with any bill in committee … I’ve actually drafted, I’ve taken my name off bills that look so different from what it was ... I’m very cautious about supporting a bill. They want you to vote against it because they know you’re going to, that’s just part of the political game.
FEMALE: We want to see how we can work with you.
MILLER: I’m listening to everybody … I’ve been meeting with everybody. Whatever we do, it’s got to be done right.
Despite what he said, Miller voted to defund the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an initiative for which some of the immigrants he was speaking with would possibly qualify, Think Progress reported.
The video of the exchange is below: