The weekly Fighting Back post is also an Open News Thread.
The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin.
We are calling on the Republican leaders of the Senate and the House — Senator McConnell and Speaker Ryan — to bring the bipartisan DREAM Act to the floor. If they do, I’m confident that the DREAM Act will pass both chambers of Congress on a strong bipartisan vote and then it will be up to President Trump to sign the Dream Act and make it the law of the land. […]
The American people are calling out for this. Seventy-five percent of Americans—including 70 percent of Republicans—want the DREAMers to stay in this country they call home. […] [To the DREAMERers]: You are not alone. I won’t stop fighting for you, and together, with my colleagues in Congress and our fellow Americans, we will ensure that you are here to stay.
(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)
(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)
Last week, we were dealt the heartbreaking news that the Trump Administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as ‘DACA.’
DACA provides temporary legal status to immigrant students if they register with the government, pay a fee, and pass criminal and national security background checks.
The young people protected by DACA are known as DREAMers. They came to the United States as children. They grew up singing the Star Spangled Banner and pledging allegiance to the American flag.
It was seven years ago that Republican Senator Dick Lugar and I sent a letter to President Obama, asking him to establish the DACA program.
The President responded to our request, and DACA has been a huge success. Approximately 800,000 Dreamers have come forward and received DACA, which has allowed them to contribute more fully to their country as teachers, nurses, engineers, first responders, and service members.
But today, across the nation, thousands of Dreamers – and their families and friends – are afraid. Because of this Administration’s decision to end DACA, 800,000 young people who were brought to the United States as children will lose their ability to work and be subject to deportation. Ending DACA will set in motion rolling mass deportations over the course of more than two years.
Don’t believe the spin—repealing DACA was never about ‘putting America first’ or ‘protecting American workers’. Dreamers grew up in this country and are American in every way except their immigration status. They are job creators, not job stealers. A study by the Center for American Progress finds that ending DACA would cost the United States at least $433.4 billion in gross domestic product over the next 10 years.
The President says that it’s up to Congress to fix this, and he gave us six months to do it. Congress now has an urgent and closing window to right this wrong and prevent a humanitarian and economic catastrophe for these young people, their families, their communities, and for our country. The deportation clock is ticking.
It was sixteen years ago that I first introduced the DREAM Act. This bipartisan legislation would give a path to citizenship to Dreamers. In July, I introduced the most recent version of the DREAM Act with my friend Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. This bipartisan bill has also been introduced in the House of Representatives.
We are calling on the Republican leaders of the Senate and the House—Senator McConnell and Speaker Ryan—to bring the bipartisan DREAM Act to the floor. If they do, I’m confident that the DREAM Act will pass both chambers of Congress on a strong bipartisan vote and then it will be up to President Trump to sign the DREAM Act and make it the law of the land.
When we introduced the DREAM Act, Senator Graham said, ‘the moment of reckoning is coming.’
Well, that moment has come.
The American people are calling out for this. Seventy-five percent of Americans—including 70 percent of Republicans—want the DREAMers to stay in this country they call home.
It’s time to stand up. It’s time for Congress to pass the DREAM Act.
Those members of Congress on the wrong side of history will bear responsibility for forcing hundreds of thousands of talented young immigrants out of the workforce and putting them at risk of immediate deportation.
As for this United States Senator, I’ll do everything in my power to protect these DREAMers and give them the chance to become citizens so they can contribute to a brighter future for all Americans.
My final message is for all the DREAMers out there who are in despair: do not lose faith. Keep going to work. Keep working for your families, your communities, and your country.
You are not alone. I won’t stop fighting for you, and together, with my colleagues in Congress and our fellow Americans, we will ensure that you are here to stay.
Any bolding has been added.
Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:
Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference
Leader Pelosi. Good morning, everyone.
As you know, last night [Senate Democratic Leader] Chuck Schumer and I had a very productive meeting with President Trump, where we agreed to a plan to work out an agreement to protect our nation’s DREAMers from deportation.
We insisted that the bipartisan DREAM Act, the one introduced by Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, would be the basis for the protection and that we would review border security measures that do not include building a wall as we go forward.
We also urged, on another subject, we urged the President to make permanent the cost sharing reduction payments under the Affordable Care Act.
Earlier in the day, [Democratic Whip Steny] Hoyer and I, along with the chairs of the Tri-Caucus – that would be the [Congressional] Hispanic Caucus, the [Congressional] Asian Pacific American Caucus, and the Congressional Black Caucus – we had a very good meeting with the Speaker [Paul Ryan] in which we agreed to move forward to try to put the DREAM Act on the floor as soon as possible.
He, too, wanted to see some border initiatives, which we said we would look into. We suggested to him and to the White House the McCaul-Thompson border security package that unanimously passed the Homeland Security Committee.
Any solution to the challenges facing the DREAMers must include the bipartisan DREAM Act, as I said, sponsored by [Congressionwoman] Lucille Roybal-Allard.
As you know, I think you must be aware, the faith community, the business community have implored Congress to pass the DREAM Act.
And the American people, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, support action. Seventy-six percent of Americans support citizenship or permanent status: well over 50 percent citizenship for the DREAMers, with only 15 percent backing deportation. Sixty-nine percent of Republicans back either citizenship or permanent status versus 24 percent of Republicans who support deportation.
So this is about not just the young people. That would be justification enough to do this. This is about who we are as Americans. And it’s pretty exciting that so many people are rallying to the DREAMers.
Our American values, our faith and our basic human decency demand that we pass the DREAM Act and prevent the senseless deportation of hundreds of thousands of patriotic young Americans.
Hopefully, Congress well, hopefully – we’re more than hoping. We’re working for Congress to get this done soon.
Later today, House and Senate Democrats will also unveil our newest legislation for child care for working families, called the Child Care for Working Families Act, as part of our Better Deal. It’s a bold solution to close the gap to access affordable quality childcare and early education. It is a bill to put children on the path to success tomorrow and parents on the path to bigger paychecks today. Children learning, parents earning, that’s our mantra.
And, again, A Better Deal means better jobs, creating better jobs, raising incomes for American workers, lowering cost for American families, and giving every American the tools to succeed in the 21st century. This falls into the lowering cost category.
Democrats will continue to advance and expand on our Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Pay, Better Future.
Press questioning followed (see transcript)
More on the status of the DREAM Act and congressional negotiations:
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer issued this joint statement following dinner with President Trump:
“President Trump’s Tweets are not inconsistent with the agreement reached last night. As we said last night, there was no final deal, but there was agreement on the following:
“We agreed that the President would support enshrining DACA protections into law, and encourage the House and Senate to act.
“What remains to be negotiated are the details of border security, with a mutual goal of finalizing all details as soon as possible. While both sides agreed that the wall would not be any part of this agreement, the President made clear he intends to pursue it at a later time, and we made clear we would continue to oppose it.
“Both sides agreed that the White House and the Democratic leaders would work out a border security package. Possible proposals were discussed including new technology, drones, air support, sensor equipment, rebuilding roads along the border and the bipartisan McCaul-Thompson bill.”
September 13, 2017
Dear Democratic Colleague,
Tonight, Leader Schumer and I had a productive meeting with President Trump where we agreed to a plan to work out an agreement to protect our nation’s DREAMers from deportation.
We insisted that the bipartisan DREAM Act would be the basis for that protection and that we would review border security measures that didn’t include building a wall.
We also urged the President to make permanent the cost sharing reduction payments under the Affordable Care Act.
Earlier in the day, Leader Hoyer and I, along with the Tri-Caucus Chairs, met with Speaker Ryan to encourage passage of the DREAM Act. He suggested that he may need border security measures and we suggested the McCaul-Thompson border security package that unanimously passed the Homeland Security Committee.
Any solution to the challenge facing the DREAMers must include the DREAM Act sponsored by Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard. I will keep you posted on any suggestions about border security that we receive.
Hopefully, we can get this all done in a matter of weeks.
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