A California congressman told a group of DREAM Act-eligible students that he understands what it's like to be an immigrant because he was born in Arkansas. The Washington Post's Plum Line blog reported that Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA) was confronted by a group of young immigrant activists at a political event in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

“You know, I’ve talked to a lot of young people like [you],” Miller told the activists. “I mean, I understand the difficulty. Just like I was born in Arkansas. I came here when I was a year old.”

The DREAM Act applies to children of undocumented immigrants who have been raised in the U.S. but who live in legal limbo, unable to apply for citizenship and constantly facing the specter of deportation to a country where they have never -- or only briefly -- lived.

Frank Sharry of pro-immigration rights group America's Voice, told the Post's Alex Seitz-Wald that Rep. Miller's statement was "stunning in its ignorance" as well as being "revealing in how out of touch some Republicans are with the experience of undocumented immigrants."

"And this is a guy who represents a district in California, the state that has the largest number of undocumented immigrants in the country," Sharry continued. "So for him to say, I get your experience, I came from Arkansas to California, as if that is equivalent to a young kid coming from Mexico or El Salvador and growing up in the American school system and having opportunities denied to you because of your family’s immigration status, I mean, oh my God."

“I’m going from finding it really hilarious to really disturbing," he said.

Watch video of the exchange, embedded below via the House Majority PAC:

[image of Gary Miller via Wikipedia.org]