Kansas Republican State Rep. Connie O’Brien was discussing repealing an in-state tuition break for children of undocumented workers during a recorded meeting of the House State and Federal Affairs Committee. O’Brien was upset that her son was having trouble paying for classes at Kansas City Community College, and he felt despair while waiting in line with a female student who didn’t seem to be from the United States.
“My son, who’s a Kansas resident, born here, raised here, didn’t qualify for any financial aid,” according to a recording of her statement to the committee. “Yet this girl was going to get financial aid.”
“My son was kinda upset about it because he works and pays for his own schooling and his books and everything and he didn’t think that was fair. We didn’t ask the girl what nationality she was, we didn’t think that was proper. But we could tell by looking at her that she was not originally from this country,” she says on the recording.
Democratic Rep. Sean Gatewood asked O’Brien to clarify her remarks.
“Can you expand on how you could tell that they were illegal?” Gatewood asked.
“Well, she wasn’t black,” O’Brien said. “She wasn’t Asian. And she had the olive complexion.”
O’Brien tried some damage control when asked about this by reporters.
“I never said that was a Mexican-American,” O’Brien said. “My son-in-law is from Afghanistan, and he’s olive complexion.”
O’Brien said she thought it was unfair the female student at the community college in Kansas City, Kan., would receive financial aid while her own son didn’t qualify.
“She didn’t have identification,” O’Brien said. “She’s driving on our streets with no driver’s license.”