NEW YORK – The first Indian American woman elected to the US House of Representatives, Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) was questioned about her citizenship during a live appearance on C-SPAN on Thursday, according to The Hill.
During an episode of C-SPAN’s long-running morning show Washington Journal, a Republican caller from Reno, Nevada asked her the question.
“Yes, absolutely, you have to be a U.S. citizen to be in Congress so I am a proud U.S. citizen,” Jayapal replied in a video she posted on Twitter.
She then used that question to address for an all-inclusive immigration reform.
“Most of our immigration laws have not been adjusted for decades. It keeps getting tossed back and forth because it is complicated. We haven’t had any kind of a system that matches our economic needs for labor to our immigration system,” she states in the video.
Jayapal added that the existing visa system is broken.
“You know, we’re talking about a DACA fix, but we need a whole fix for comprehensive immigration reform in general. That’s something I’ve worked on for 15 years,” she stated in the video.
This is not the first time the 52-year-old Congresswoman was faced with an awkward and offensive question. Last year, she had to respond to an anti-immigrant caller whose question was whether or not immigrants contribute to the American economy, according to Bustle.
Jayapal was born in India and came to the United States on a student visa at the age of 16. She became a U.S. citizen in 2000 and was first elected in 2016, serving in the Washington state senate for two years now.