LATINO VOICES

Twitter Erupts At Rick Santorum For Telling Dreamer To Leave The U.S.

"You should recognize the gift that America has given you," he said.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) can’t speak to whether President-elect Donald Trump plans to deport undocumented immigrants en masse beginning next year, but he has made one thing clear: People who came to the U.S. illegally as children, also known as Dreamers, should just leave the U.S. if they’re worried about their immigration status.

Elizabeth Vilchis, a mechanical engineer who said she came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 7 years old, asked Santorum about Trump’s immigration plans on Tuesday night during a town hall event with CNN’s Van Jones. 

“I stand to lose all the work that I’ve done if the new administration decides to end DACA,” she said, referring to the federal program that offers undocumented immigrants work authorization and deferred action from deportation.

“I will lose my career and will potentially be labeled for deportation” if Trump follows through on his promises to get tough on immigration, she said.

She asked Santorum how he would advise her to plan for her future.

He began his reply by talking about his father, who left Mussolini’s Italy to come to the U.S. when he was 7 years old ― even though, Santorum said, “he wasn’t allowed to come because of the immigration laws at the time.”

Then he began to address Vilchis specifically. 

“What most people in America feel is that you’ve been given a tremendous benefit by being here in this country,” Santorum said, adding that he imagined she wouldn’t “have had the opportunities to accomplish what you have” in her country of origin.

“My final point is that you have the ability to go to any other country right now and apply those wares, and be successful, and reapply to come back to America,” Santorum added. “Go and make the world a better place.”

CNN contributor Ana Navarro butted in.

“First of all, this is your country,” she said. “No matter what he says, no matter what anybody else says, this is your country.”

“That’s not what the law says,” Santorum replied. “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.”

Many viewers couldn’t contain their disgust:

Trump has promised to immediately deport 2 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants who “have criminal records” and to build a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. 

(h/t RawStory)

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