When President Obama announced on Friday relief from deportation for undocumented people who came to the country as children, he noted, “They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants, and often have no idea that they’re undocumented until they apply for a job or a driver’s license or a college scholarship.”
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) disagrees. During an appearance on CNN’s Starting Point this morning, Farenthold told Soledad O’Brien that he believes that 16-year-old kids can make their own decisions about immigrating to the United States, claiming that his own 16-year-old daughter argues about “pretty much everything the family wants to do”:
FARENTHOLD: Well, you are also talking about people that came over at 16 years of age. At that point, you had a say in it, and that looks kind of more like amnesty. [...]
OBRIEN: You think a 16 year old whose parents are coming across the border has a say in whether or not they’re just going to stay behind in their country?
FARENTHOLD: They’re certainly in a position to have a conversation with their parents about it.
OBRIEN: A sixteen year old is in a position to have a conversation with their parents about coming across the border, you think?
FARENTHOLD: Believe me, my sixteen year old daughter has given me some input on pretty much everything the family wants to do.
Most 16-year-old children are, of course, reliant on their parents for financial support, and do not actually get a say in where their families move. And the President is right that many children don’t know their immigration status until much later — when they apply for a job or a drivers’ license.