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The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
(In this week’s address, Rep. Lujan Grisham denounced the Trump Administration’s cruel decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, leaving the lives and futures of 800,000 DREAMers uncertain.)
I want to talk with you about 800,000 aspiring Americans who, after coming to this country at a young age, have done everything right. They stayed out of trouble, gone to school, paid their taxes, joined the military, started businesses and continued to patriotically love the United States – often the only country they have ever known.
These Americans are DREAMers. They are our neighbors, coworkers, classmates and our friends. […]
For five years, DACA has unlocked the great potential of 800,000 DREAMers. These young patriots made the most of their opportunity to pursue the American Dream, and in turn, they have provided tremendous social and economic gains for communities across this nation. […]
Can you imagine the fear, uncertainty and anxiety this is causing nearly a million young Americans as they wait for the end of a six-month deadline – at the end of which they face the very real threat of deportation?
This is the civil rights test of our time. Are we going to turn our backs on DREAMers? Are we going to allow President Trump to use them as pawns in his cruel efforts to divide America?
To DREAMers, I have this to say to you: ‘We see you. We know you. We believe in you. You represent the best of this country. Keep fighting. Democrats are right there with you, side by side, supporting each other the entire way.’
(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)
(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)
“I’m Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham from the beautiful state of New Mexico, and I have the honor of serving as the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
“Yesterday, Congress passed the first emergency down payment to rebuild after the costliest hurricane in our nation’s history slammed into the Texas coastline.
“I especially want to thank our first responders, dedicated civil servants and men and women in uniform who continue to sacrifice their own safety to save lives.
“And I am inspired – but not surprised – by the way that Americans from across the country have responded and come to the aid of those who were impacted.
“They have donated their time, their money, and sent their prayers to millions of Americans who are recovering from unimaginable devastation and loss.
“Because it is in moments like these, no matter our race, age, nationality or political affiliation, we are ALL Americans.
“We support each other in trying times, as we have done since this nation was founded. That is the strength of our great country.
“And in that spirit, I want to talk with you about 800,000 aspiring Americans who, after coming to this country at a young age, have done everything right.
“They stayed out of trouble, gone to school, paid their taxes, joined the military, started businesses and continued to patriotically love the United States – often the only country they have ever known.
“These Americans are DREAMers. They are our neighbors, coworkers, classmates and our friends.
“I recently had the honor to meet some of these young Americans and their parents.
“The parents told me about their harrowing journeys fleeing violence in search of opportunities for their children.
“The father told me that if he had not left his home country, his sons would not be alive today. He worked tirelessly as a janitor at a school in Santa Fe, and his wife started a cleaning business – so their sons would have a chance for a better life and, maybe, a college education.
“Their children went to American schools, made friends, went to church, worked alongside their families to contribute to the entire family and lived their lives as a American teens until the day they discovered that they were undocumented.
“They started to realize that although they were exactly like their peers in almost every way, they were superficially different. They had to live in the shadows.
“But they also told me how their lives were transformed after DACA was enacted.
“If they came forward, passed a background check and paid a fee, then DACA promised them a temporary two-year permit to work, attend school and live free from the fear of deportation.
“For five years, DACA has unlocked the great potential of 800,000 DREAMers.
“These young patriots made the most of their opportunity to pursue the American Dream, and in turn, they have provided tremendous social and economic gains for communities across this nation.
“In my mind, DREAMers make our country better. They define the American Dream – they help define who we are as Americans.
“Unfortunately, President Trump cowardly eliminated protections for these hopeful Americans.
“He has once again trapped them in a broken, heartless system and terrified the young DREAMers I met last week.
“Can you imagine the fear, uncertainty and anxiety this is causing nearly a million young Americans as they wait for the end of a six-month deadline – at the end of which they face the very real threat of deportation?
“This is the civil rights test of our time. Are we going to turn our backs on DREAMers? Are we going to allow President Trump to use them as pawns in his cruel efforts to divide America?
“We cannot turn their American Dream into a fantasy, because a threat to the promise of America for some is a threat to all of us.
“That’s why I, along with my Democratic colleagues in the House and Senate, and millions of Americans urge Congressional Republicans to do the right thing and bring the DREAM Act to a vote without delay.
“To DREAMers, I have this to say to you: ‘We see you. We know you. We believe in you. You represent the best of this country. Keep fighting. Democrats are right there with you, side by side, supporting each other the entire way.’
“Today, let us make it clear that this is not just an immigrant issue. Or a Democratic or a Republican issue. This is a human issue. This is an American issue.
“And I have faith that we will band together, support each other during trying times and correct this wrong – just as we have always done.
Any bolding has been added.
Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:
Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference
Leader Pelosi Opening Remarks
Leader Pelosi. Good morning. Last time we met was before we broke for the August district work period.
We were all very enthusiastic – we, our Members, House Democrats – about our Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Pay, Better Future, about how we would build infrastructure, create 10 million jobs, also have job training to create the tools for our workforce for the 21st century. And I am very proud of our Members for all of the events they had during the district work period to give a road test our Better Deal and getting the response to all that as it came back. And during that period of time, just in case your message isn’t eclipsed enough, what did we have?
We had Charlottesville, we had North Korea, DACA and, of course, sadly, sadly, the hurricanes, now more than one. But on Harvey – my daughter lives in Houston, so she was giving me the reports on the hardships that she had seen. I was very proud of her. She has an arts school called Art Mix, and the first day they could go out, she called for help for art supplies for children in the shelters and they had 21 SUVs full of art supplies to go out.
In any event, they were okay, but trying to help other people. And that is what is so beautiful about Houston – people helping people, the sense of community.
And now we have Irma, unknown as to what all of the consequences will be, but sad about what’s happening in Puerto Rico and well, all of the islands there, but from the standpoint of our Members, we hear directly from Nydia Velázquez about not being able to communicate with her family for a while.
Happily, by today she has been able to. The loss of power there for nearly a million people, and for a long period of time [in] the Virgin Islands. And our Members in Florida are connected very closely to their constituents. Now the Carolinas Members are coming forward as well.
So Members, while we are here, are still very much with our constituents in terms of those regions that are affected. Of course, we have the fires in California and the rest. That is all to say that when we decide how we are going to allocate resources as we go forward, we have to think in terms of mitigation and prevention. [If] we don’t want to call it climate change, but we can call it storms – earth, wind, and fire. How about that? Does that work for you? Earth, wind, and fire, how we mitigate against some things that have become predictable and more intense as we go forward.
North Korea. My concern about North Korea is mainly, and has been for years – I went to Pyongyang, North Korea, as you may know, one of the few Members of Congress who has been to North Korea. And when we were there, we were talking about many things, and POWs, MIAs, and all that, the starvation of their people, but also about their testing of missiles. At the time we were talking missiles. And they said, you know what, ‘we want to sell them.’ ‘You want to buy them? We will sell them to you.’
So this idea of North Korea as a proliferator is one that they talked about 15 years ago or more. And that’s what I am concerned about. I think that what the President of North Korea is doing is about deterrence, but I think it’s also – I think it’s also about a road show. He can sell not only the technology, the scientific know how; he can send scientists, the missile and the delivery system. I don’t think he would proliferate the nuclear aspects of it. That’s a deterrent for him.
But all of the resources that are available to him are not indigenous. They came, some of them came from some other places. So this is a very dangerous situation in many ways, including that North Korea could be a proliferator.
Again, our hearts go out to the families of everyone affected by these storms. And as we are preparing to pass a bill for Harvey, as you know, we had a meeting at the White House yesterday. In preparation for the meeting we met with our Members, and decided that we were not going to be agreeable to an 18-month lifting of the debt ceiling.
It just destroys any negotiating leverage that we would have. We talked about it. We talked with our colleagues about it, some of the leadership colleagues about it. And then yesterday morning, the Republicans put out that they were going to insist on an 18-month, so we put out the 3-month proposal that we had.
It was a lively debate. I told my Caucus before we went, ‘this is what our proposal is.’ It was a lively debate. We had not intended to be talking about CR, but, of course, that came up, and frankly, strengthened our hand with 3 months because we made it clear we would not do any longer debt ceiling than we had with the Continuing Resolution. Is this more on the subject than you want to know? Stop me if it is – getting into the technicalities of CR and debt ceiling and the rest of that – I am an appropriator. That’s the life I left, intelligence and appropriations, so you see that in my focus.
But as the conversation went forward, we are not going to take any more time, agree to any more time than what the CR is. If you have a 6-month CR, the Defense Department can’t live with that. So the fact that they brought up the CR really strengthened our hand in the 3 months of lifting the debt ceiling.
The impression was given to us that – some of you know we voted to lift the debt ceiling many times, many of us, but we were kind of lectured on the importance of lifting the debt ceiling to the markets, and we know that. We know that. We have been lifting the debt ceiling. You know, Wall Street is Wall Street. Here, the currency of the realm is the vote. You have the votes, no discussion. If you don’t have the votes, 3 months. That’s how it went with that.
And we made it very clear in the course of the conversation that we would – that our priority was to pass the DREAM Act, that we wanted to do. Obviously, it has to be bipartisan. The President said he supports that. He would sign it. But we have to get it passed. And that’s a high priority.
So that’s why when we left the meeting, we said in the meeting, ‘the President and Congressional Leadership agreed to pass aid for Harvey, an extension of the debt limit, and a Continuing Resolution vote to December 15th.’ I think they may have changed it back now to the 8th. They asked us if that was okay.
Altogether, both sides have every intention of avoiding default in December, and look forward to working together on many issues before then. We have an omnibus bill, all the appropriations bills, we have SCHIP, State Children’s Health Insurance Program, we have Community Health Centers, we have extenders for Medicare, FAA – we have many items on the agenda.
But for us, the Democratic leadership made it clear in the strongest possible way that we believe the DREAM Act must come to the floor and pass as soon as possible. And we will not rest until we get that done. So that is how that went. Any questions?
Press questioning followed (see transcript)
The Trump Administration’s cruel, inhumane decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has thrown the lives and futures of 800,000 DREAMers and their families into fearful disarray, chaos and uncertainty.
Editorial boards across the country have slammed the decision to terminate DACA and called on Congress to act swiftly to pass the DREAM Act and immediately protect our country’s courageous, patriotic DREAMers. While House Republicans have acted three times this week to block an up-or-down vote, House Democrats will fight relentlessly to pass the DREAM Act.
The Crimson White: UA should protect DACA recipients
AZ Central: Trump failed dreamers. Will Congress clean up his mess?
LA Times: Here’s a solution to the DACA crisis: Pass a Dream Act. And soon
LA Times: Ending DACA was an act of pure cruelty by Trump
Santa Cruz Sentinel: Post Trump DACA cruelty, Congress must pass Dream Act
The Mercury News: Is Congress up to the job of reviving DACA and protecting Dreamers?
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: In rescinding DACA, Trump builds a wall of fear — and makes young people pay for it
La Opinión: Una decisión cruel y cobarde
The Denver Post: On Trump’s DACA decision, there’s plenty of blame to go around
Hartford Courant: 5 Reasons Trump Is Wrong On DACA
News Times: Congress must act to save Dreamers
Sun Sentinel: President Trump rolls dice on 800,000 lives
Miami Herald: Congress should negotiate to rescue DREAMers
Orlando Sentinel: Don’t let the dream die for 800,000 young immigrants
Tampa Bay Times: Killing DACA shows a lack of compassion and common sense
The Ledger: Congress can stop the pending departure of the ‘childhood arrivals’
Herald Tribune: DACA participants deserve to stay
El Nuevo Herald: Una solución tras el fin de DACA
Savannah Morning News: Congress must act on immigration reform
Honolulu Civil Beat: Congress Must Act To Undo A Massive Injustice To ‘Dreamers’
Chicago Sun-Times: Tell it to Alonso Guillen that Dreamers have no place here
Evansville Courier & Press: DACA reversal won’t hurt only Dreamers
South Bend Tribune: Congress must act now on DACA
The Daily Nonpareil: Congress must act on DACA
Lawrence Journal-World: Take action on DACA
Topeka Capital-Journal: DACA repeal is cruel and pointless
Lexington Herald Leader: Congress must protect Dreamers from deportation
Portland Press Herald: Our View: These lives are American in all ways but one
Baltimore Sun: Trump and DACA: Dreamers deferred
Johns Hopkins News-Letter: Defend our DREAMers
Boston Globe: With DACA, Congress has a chance to score a win
Daily Hampshire Gazette: After President Trump ends DACA, Congress must preserve the dream
Detroit Free Press: With DACA ending, it’s up to Congress to rescue dreamers
StarTribune: Congress should preserve DACA and the American dream
Kansas City Star: How Missouri and Kansas leaders could be part of the solution to Trump’s DACA problems
Omaha World-Herald: Congress must step up and protect people with DACA status
Star-Ledger: Trump revokes DACA, and now a spineless Congress must respond
Asbury Park Press: Let DACA immigrants keep dreams alive
Santa Fe New Mexican: Dreamers: The best of this nation
New York Times: Donald Trump’s Cowardice on ‘Dreamers’
The Post Star: Congress needs to craft fair plan for dreamers
The Daily News: Dreaming and dealmaking: Turning a good idea into law
The Ithacan: Students covered by DACA must be protected
The Daily Gazette: Offer ideas on DACA, not just threat
Times Union: A cruel decision on DACA
The Charlotte Observer: Only Congress can save innocent Dreamers now
Raleigh’s The News & Observer: More Trump pandering on DACA phase-out
Greensboro News & Record: A DACA heartbreak
The Oklahoman: With DACA ending, humane fix should be Congress’ aim
Albany Democrat-Herald: Congress must strike deal on DACA
The Philadelphia Inquirer: What must be done to save the ‘Dreamers’ from Trump politics
York Dispatch: Congress and the Dreamers
The Pitt News: Stand strong to protect DACA recipients
Providence Journal: Congress should act on immigration
Greenville Online: Let DACA students get the licenses they need to work
Dallas Morning News: The Trump administration is ending DACA. It is time for Congress to act.
Austin American-Statesman: Congress should stand by Dreamers, grant them legal status
El Paso Times: Ending DACA is indefensible and immoral
Virginian-Pilot: Executive actions are no way to run a country
Culpeper Star-Exponent: Trump makes a bad call on DACA
Seattle Times: Let DACA deadline kick-start overdue immigration reform
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin: Congress has obligation to do right by Dreamers
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: With DACA ending, Congress needs to do its job
Washington Post: Trump’s messy and muddled reasoning on DACA
Washington Post: Trump’s heartless decision
USA TODAY: Trump’s DACA reversal won’t only hurt dreamers
Links to each editorial are at the newsroom link.
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