Louisiana governor and 2016 presidential candidate Bobby Jindal was at the Iowa State Fair this weekend, and he addressed the topic of immigration, legal and illegal, from the fair’s famed soap box stage. The Des Moines Register reports:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal kept a hard stance on his immigration policy and advocated for tighter border control and assimilation, despite heckling and protests from an immigration activism group at The Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair Saturday.
“It’s time to secure the border for once and for all,” Jindal said. “If you want to come to our country, come legally, learn English.”
Throughout Jindal’s speech, he addressed a variety of issues, including defunding Planned Parenthood and instituting term limits for elected officials.
Protesters were in the audience shouting for “citizenship now” and chanting “We want freedom,” and Jindal responded directly, telling them “if you want freedom, follow the laws.”
More from the De Moines Register:
Jindal wants to repeal President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration police, which provides a work permit and exemption from deportation for some undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. before their 16th birthday. He also advocates for cultural assimilation, condemning terms like “African American” and “Asian American”, saying everyone should just be American.
“No one is being forced to come here in the first place,” Jindal said. “Immigration without assimilation, that’s invasion.”
Before Jindal stopped by the Republican Party of Iowa Booth, he was confronted by two activists from the Minnesota immigration group, spending roughly 15 minutes speaking with them. One of the activists mentioned Jindal’s parents, pointing out that they were immigrants who were hoping for better for themselves and for him, too.
“My parents came here legally. There’s a big difference,” Jindal said. “When you come here, roll up your sleeves and get to work.”
Watch Jindal’s whole speech:
Following his speech, the protesters confronted Jindal about his stance on assimilation and his statement condemning the notion of “hyphenated Americans.” Elizabeth Crisp reports:
Des Moines resident Vanessa Marcano-Kelly, a native of Venezuela, questioned Jindal’s objection to the use of “hyphenated American” descriptors — Jindal has said he believes people should be called Americans, rather than using terms like Asian-American, Indian-American or African-American. Marcano-Kelly told him she thinks diversity enhances the country and said she took offense to remarks he made in his speech.
“I don’t believe anybody is automatically entitled to come here to our country and be Americans. That’s a privilege,” Jindal responded. “We want people who want to be Americans, who want to assimilate.”
Marcano-Kelly and two others attempted to pull sway by noting Jindal’s family’s immigration story, but he repeatedly stressed that his parents came to the United States legally. Jindal’s father, an engineer, qualified for a green card under a 1965 law for people with “exceptional ability in the sciences or arts,” and Jindal’s mother was then able to get a spouse green card. Jindal was born a U.S. citizen a few months later.
After the lengthy back-and-forth with the immigration advocates, Jindal shook each of their hands, telling them, “We’ll agree to disagree and that’s OK. … I appreciate your passion.”
It’s difficult not to draw comparisons between Jindal’s passion, dignity, and grace when discussing lawful immigration and assimilation and other candidates who believe illegal immigration is an “act of love” or who speak in condescending platitudes designed to obscure the issue.DONATE
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