Pelosi Remarks at Press Conference in Support of DREAMers

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Members of Congress, DREAMers, and advocates representing the faith and business communities at a press conference to bring further attention to the ongoing fight to protect DREAMers and pass the bipartisan DREAM Act.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

Leader Pelosi.  Thank you, Madam Chair [Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham].  Thank you for your kind words and for your tremendous leadership, more importantly.  Thank you to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for being out there so vocally, for your presentation laying it out, which enables us to speak more briefly, so we can hear from many more of our friends because you have [made] the case so clearly.  As did the leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus and the [Congressional] Asian Pacific American Caucus and all of the members of our caucus.

It is an honor to be here with our faith-based leadership, Sister Simone, representative of business, Todd Schulte, our special guests.  Our speakers will tell their special stories, as will my colleagues who have been on the lead on this issue.  Well Mr. [Chuck] Schumer and I spoke out very forcefully and very rapidly when we saw what the Administration put forward.  The Trump Administration’s immigration principles – they call them principles. Un-principles. They aren’t principles, they are trash – are unacceptable to the DREAMers and those of us who fight for them, opposed by the overwhelming majority of Americans and anathema to our national values.

Together, these brutal proposals – each one of them is horrible – but the cumulative effect of them would destroy a fundamental part of the American character: a free nation proud of its immigrant heritage.  Their proposal abandons the fundamental respect for family at the heart of our faith, at the heart of who we are.

Protecting our DREAMers and respecting immigrant families unites us and unites the three B’s: business, badges — our law enforcement friends – and bibles – our religious friends.  And every Republican president for the past four decades has recognized the constant re-invigoration of America. Look at Ronald Reagan.  Even after Congress acted, he said, “You haven’t gone far enough. We’re going to have family fairness,”  and he protected more people, he and George Herbert Walker Bush, a higher percentage of people than even Barack Obama with his initiatives.  This is Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush.

I’m just naming the Republicans because you know that the Democrats would be there.  George W. Bush tried so hard with his own caucus but just couldn’t succeed.  But he believed and respected and has spoken out in terms of respect for the dignity and the invigoration that our immigrants bring to our country.

So this President stands alone as [the only] Democratic or Republican in modern times as being anti-immigrant.  The Trump Administration and this proposal have reiterated the darkness and cruelty of their Administration’s immigration agenda.

Now I say they’ve drawn a line in the sand with this.  Our Republican colleagues in the House who support DREAMers and I believe that the President does as well.  He doesn’t support DREAMers because – [Senator] Chuck Schumer and I had good table manners that night.  He supports DREAMers because the American people support DREAMers.  That is why we have to go forward in a way that is a first step, a first step.  One that is a victory for DREAMers in a way that does not harm any other immigrants in our country.

So as I say, we call upon our House Republicans respectfully, trusting in their word that they support DREAMers, that they believe in the value of immigration.  The American people, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, you name whatever they are, overwhelmingly oppose deporting DREAMers.  House Democrats will lead the way demanding an up-or-down vote but hopefully we will be joined in that path in a very bipartisan way by our Republican colleagues.

Now, in the interest of time, I will not read the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ statement but I refer it to you because it very beautifully condemns the proposal that the Administration put forth.

And with that, I’m very pleased to yield to a distinguished Representative, the Co-Chair of the Women’s Working Group on immigration reform, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington state.  Also, speaking out for the [Congressional] Asian Pacific American Caucus in this way as well.  Congresswoman.

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