Rick Santorum Under Fire For Telling Mexican Immigrant To Find Another Country

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Former GOP presidential candidate and Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has come under fire from social media after a segment on CNN Tuesday where he told an undocumented “Dreamer” who is also a mechanical engineer that if she fears deportation, she should go back to her own country.

Elizabeth Vilchis told Santorum that she came to the country at age 7. She excelled in school and eventually decided to pursue a STEM career path — Science, Technology, Engineering, Math — because she had heard about the declining number of students pursuing STEM degrees and deciding she wanted to “be part of the solution.”

Since then, Vilchis has become a mechanical engineer, and also a mentor for young students, spending more than a decade working with them to help prepare and inspire them to pursue engineering and other STEM careers.

Because she came to the country before she turned 16, she qualifies under President Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order, which basically allows for renewable two-year deferred actions from deportation and eligibility for work permits, but not a lawful status in the country.

With President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to deport tens of thousands of illegal immigrants, those who qualified for the DACA deportation deferrals now worry they may be forced to leave the country.

“I stand to lose all the work that I’ve done if the [new] administration decides to end DACA,” Vilchis said. “My career will come to an end if that program ends and I will also potentially be labelled for deportation, which means I am going to be removed from the communities that I’ve contributed to so much.”

She asked Santorum how she should plan for her future given Trump’s strict stance on immigration.

Santorum shared some of his “own personal story” and described how, like her, his father also came to country at the age of seven. Due to current immigration laws at the time, however, his father wasn’t able to come to the country until that point and as a result, wasn’t able to be with his family.

But although he had to wait, Santorum said when he asked his father if he resented America, he said his father told him “America was worth the wait.” and that it was “worth doing it the right way.”

He then told Vilchis, “You have the ability to go to any other country right now, and apply those wares and be successful and reapply to come to America if you so choose.”

“I think what most people in America feel,” he added, “is that you’ve been given a tremendous benefit by being here in this country.”

Twitter users were outraged at Santorum’s comments.

Vilchis responded by telling Santorum that unlike his father, she was brought here without her knowledge and explained the harsh immigration laws in Mexico that ban her for 10 years from returning.

Santorum maintained his position that she should be grateful.

“It’s tragic to hear that,” he said. “As much as I’m sympathetic to you, you should recognize the gift that America has given you and that you can give to the world.”

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Source: westernjournalism.com

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