Going on MSNBC Friday, Rep. Scott DesJarlais continued to defend his answer to an 11-year-old girl's question about what could be done about her undocumented father, who faces deportation proceedings.
After a YouTube video of the congressman's answer at a town hall in Murfreesboro last week began to go viral, DesJarlais' comments received national coverage and drew the ire of immigration advocacy groups. Since then, DesJarlais has defended his answer, saying current U.S. immigration policy must be enforced, even if it means difficult answers to tough questions.
"I think the answer is we are a nation of laws, we have immigration laws on the books, sometimes not being enforced the way they should, so there's a lot of confusion and a lot of gray zones," DesJarlais said. "But the bottom line is, we have an immigration problem in this country, and we need to enforce the laws we have on the books."
The congressman later called the recently passed Senate immigration bill "the Obamacare of immigration" and said he was "concerned about doing the right thing" with any upcoming House legislation on the issue. DesJarlais said that because the U.S. government expected its citizens to abide by the laws of host countries when traveling internationally, the same should be expected of nationals entering the U.S.
"I would further add that if we travel to another country, we don't leave and go to the airport without a passport. When we go to a country such as Mexico, we obey, we respect, and we understand that we have to follow the law," he said.
On Friday night, the YouTube video of DesJarlais at the town hall had amassed more than 120,000 views.
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