A conservative caller ranted against immigrants on air when an Indian-born Washington Democrat hosted a C-SPAN program — but the lawmaker patiently explained why he was wrong.
The caller, who identified himself as “John” from Sebring, Florida, accused recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals of taking away jobs from his family after calling to speak with first-term Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), reported the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
“It costs $530 billion for the benefits they get,” said John, who admitted he couldn’t document that figure. “They took my grandkids’ jobs. They took my kids’ jobs, running them out of business.”
Jayapal agreed John seemed to be feeling “economic pain,” and she then patiently walked back his argument step by step.
“Immigrants contribute more than they take,” Jayapal, and offered to send studies that demonstrate her claim. “It is a lie that they take public benefits because they just don’t qualify for more benefits.”
She said John had every right to be angry — but she said he aimed his ire at the wrong target.
“The people you should blame are the big corporations that are not paying their fair share of taxes, and creating jobs that don’t pay as well, and don’t allow somebody to work 40 hours a week and actually support their families,” she said.
Jayapal said undocumented immigrants and DACA recipients had been unfairly blamed for economic problems caused by wealthy corporations.
“The majority of Americans, I believe, think immigration is good for the country and that people like me have helped build the country,” she said. “It’s always easier to blame, but immigrants are not to blame for the country’s economic woes.”