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Congressman Kennedy uses his family’s story to defend immigration

US Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

US Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III recalled his legendary Massachusetts political family’s past as he delivered a speech defending immigrants on the floor of the House.

Kennedy began by sharing a story of a “family that I’ve come to know” that came from a “humble place, scraping by.”

“Amidst instability in their native land, they could barely keep food on their table,” he said in video of the speech posted on his Facebook acount. “Finally, they managed to cobble together enough money to make the dangerous journey to our shores.”

“Now, Mr. Speaker, I’m sure there are Garcias or Asgaris or Rodriguezes that share that same story. But the one I tell is not theirs. This family’s name is Kennedy,” said the congressman, whose family immigrated from Ireland.


Kennedy went on to criticize President Donald J. Trump’s statements and actions on immigration.

Kennedy said he wanted to deliver a message to immigrant families. “President Trump does not speak for all of us. And his immigration policies are opposed by leaders in Washington who do not take your patriotism for granted.”

“We understand your willingness to walk to the ends of the earth, to navigate oceans and mountains and deserts and war zones, because every parent would do the same,” he said. “We stand by your side in the fight ahead.”

Kennedy is the son of former US representative Joseph P. Kennedy II. He is the grandson of the late US senator Robert F. Kennedy and the grandnephew of the late president John F. Kennedy and the late US senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Kennedy, 36, who was first elected in 2012, has recently drawn a lot of attention, battling the House GOP plan to supplant the Affordable Care Act in speeches that have drawn millions of viewers online.


One speech, which said that the health care bill was not an act of mercy but an act of malice, drew 10 million views. Another video on his Facebook page has drawn 4.8 million views.

After 46 minutes, his most recent speech had already drawn 15,000 views.