Undocumented immigrant pushes back: ‘Our parents did what they had to do’

Updated
By Zaid A. Jilani

Last week, President Obama announced that he’ll back off on deporting as many as 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children.

Rep. Blake Farenthold, a Texas Republican, made headlines this morning when he appeared to blame these undocumented children for emigrating to the United States with their families.

“You’re also talking about people that came over at sixteen years of age,” said the congressman during an interview on CNN. “At that point [they] had a say in it. And that looks kind of more like amnesty.”

In response, Felipe Matos, who came to the United States as a fourteen year-old from Brazil, told Rev. Al Sharpton on PoliticsNation Monday that’s not how he sees it.

“Our parents did what they had to do,” Matos said.

Matos went on: 

Basically, when I was 14 years old my mother had gotten very sick back in Brazil and at that point she was put in a very difficult situation. She couldn’t continue working, and we had family members who lived in Miami at that point. So she decided to send me over to the United States…I had a tourist visa at that point…when I got here my family sat me down and said, ‘All the sacrifices your mother had made, it was so one day you’d become a great person, for you to fulfill your dreams. And that’s what I did.

 

Rev. Al had his own lighter take on Farenthold’s comments.

“When I was sixteen in my mother’s household, I might’ve had input as I went ahead and did what she told me to do!” Sharpton said.

Undocumented immigrant pushes back: 'Our parents did what they had to do'

Updated