Ugly story in The Hill today about a confrontation between Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and a DREAMer from California, Jessica Bravo:
A conservative congressman got into a heated exchange over immigration last week with one of his constituents who is living in the country illegally.
Two very different accounts have emerged from the Feb. 6 meeting between Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and an 18-year-old college student. But both sides say the discussion escalated into shouting that cut the meeting short, left the student in tears and stunned some staffers in Rohrabacher’s office.
The clash took place as President Obama and lawmakers are trying to pass legislation on immigration reform, one of the most divisive issues facing the 113th Congress.
Jessica Bravo, a freshman at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, Calif., claims Rohrabacher initiated the hostility upon learning she is an “undocumented” immigrant. She said the congressman raised his voice, waved his finger in her face, claimed to “hate illegals” and made a veiled threat to deport her and her family.
“The moment I said that word [undocumented], it just completely changed the mood of the room,” Bravo said in a telephone interview. “He kept interrupting me and he was just, like, ‘Oh, you know, I love Mexicans, but I hate illegals.’ He was just yelling at us and pointing his fingers. I couldn’t even talk anymore because I was crying.”
Rohrabacher is one of the most extreme anti-immigrant members of Congress, so, the idea of him bullying a DREAMer isn’t far-fetched. The article provides details of how the meeting escalated. And, then, there’s this:
Bravo and Gomez contend Rohrabacher followed them out of his office — “screaming at us,” according to Bravo — and into the reception room, where he asked Bravo if she’d registered to make the appointment.
“I couldn’t even talk so I just nodded my head,” Bravo said. “And Minerva was, like, ‘Yes we did, sir.’ And he was, like, ‘Well, now I know where you live.’ ”
“What is that supposed to mean coming from him?” an emotional Bravo asked. “It’s like a threat not only to me but to my family.”
Sure sounds like a threat aimed at Jessica and her family. According to the article, Rohrabacher’s staffer, Tara Setmayer, explained that the Congressman “wants to ‘make it inconvenient’ for illegal immigrants to live in the United States by bolstering enforcement measures and eliminating government benefits so they’ll ‘self-deport through attrition.’” Apparently, Rohrabacher’s office didn’t get the memo that Mitt Romney’s support of “self-deportation” was one of the key reasons he lost so badly among Latino voters. And, it sure sounds like that’s what Rohrabacher was engaging in – his own way of promoting self-deportation by threatening Jessica.
As the 2012 elections made clear, the Republicans have a major problems with Latino voters. In today’s news clips, there are numerous articles on how the GOP is trying to repair the damage. Passing immigration reform with a clear path to citizenship is the best way to do. Threatening DREAMers isn’t.