The Washington Democrat pivots to discuss the larger immigration issue.
Last week, during a C-SPAN appearance, a caller asked Rep. Pramila Jayapal if she was a US citizen. The Washington Democrat, who initially appeared surprised by the question, literally schooled the caller.
The caller, identified himself as a Republican from Reno, Nevada, on getting connected to the show asks, “Is the congresswoman American herself?”
Jayapal answers, “Yes, absolutely. You have to be a US citizen to be in Congress, so I am a proud US citizen.”
Jayapal then said that she was born in India and came to the United States at the age of 16 on a student visa and got her citizenship in 2000.
She added that she studied in this country and is married to a US Citizen. Jayapal is married to Steve Williamson, a white American, and the couple has a son. The family lives in a west Seattle neighborhood.
Jayapal, Jayapal, the first Indian American elected to Congress, used the question as an opportunity to propose for an all-inclusive immigration policy, which she has been advocating ever since Trump administration came to power.
“Most of our immigration laws … have not been adjusted for decades,” Jayapal said. “It keeps getting tossed back and forth because it is complicated.”
“We haven’t had any kind of a system that matches our economic needs for labor to our immigration system,” she added.
Jayapal has been a strong opponent of Trump’s immigration policy including his idea to build a border wall. Her comment comes at a time when the administration is planning to end the Obama-era H-4 EAD program, which would render thousands of dependent Indian spouses jobless.
“Everyone’s best interests are served when we stop making immigration a political issue and just recognize that immigration has always served our country,” Jayapal said. “What we need is a set of updated laws that actually responded to the needs of all our country and all of our communities.”
Jayapal has authored a book titled Pilgrimage: One Woman’s Return to a Changing India, which tells the story of her journey back to India as an American educated woman.
On @CSPANwj, speaking as the first Indian-American woman in the House, a caller asked, “Is the Congresswoman herself a U.S. citizen?”
I am a proud immigrant and American citizen. And I am proud to fight as an elected official for Dreamers and comprehensive immigration reform. pic.twitter.com/QmzTYkLiD5
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) May 10, 2018