As House Democrats yesterday launched a discharge petition to bypass Paul Ryan’s legislative cowardice and finally bring the bipartisan Dream Act to the floor for a vote, immigrant youth, families, and their allies flooded Republican congressional offices today to demand lawmakers act to defend both undocumented youth and immigrants protected by Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
In many instances, activists were able to share their stories with both legislators and staffers. But in others, they were physically removed by police—this happened to immigrant youth at the office of Sen. Marco Rubio—and at other times weren’t even allowed in offices at all. Outside the Capitol building, several Democratic lawmakers joined the activists in support.
“If House Republicans gave the bipartisan DREAM Act an up-or-down vote, we know it would pass,” said Leader Nancy Pelosi, one of the more than 170 House members to sign the discharge petition so far, with House Democrats reportedly working on getting all members of the caucus signed on by this week. “Our nation’s patriotic young DREAMers are an inspiration to us all, and Congress has a moral responsibility to defend them by immediately passing the bipartisan DREAM Act.”
As recent polling has shown, nearly 90 percent of Americans “say they support a right to residency for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.” It’s hard to get nearly 90 percent of Americans to agree on much of anything these days, but undocumented immigrant youth have that support. Today, they occupied legislative offices to demand a clean vote on the DREAM Act and declare they are here to stay:
Outside, hundreds of other activists traveled from all over the U.S. to gather in support of undocumented immigrant youth and TPS recipients, joined by legislators like Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer:
Members of Congress also continued to tweet out support for undocumented youth and the DREAM Act:
Nevada Congressman Ruben Kihuen, who was at once time an undocumented immigrant: “My family came to America when I was eight years old. We came here like many immigrant families, in pursuit of the American Dream. We knew that in America, in the land of opportunity, if you worked hard and sacrificed and played by the rules, and stayed out of trouble and got a good education, that you could become anything or anyone.”
“My family came here have not much money, we didn’t have a place to stay, we didn’t have any contacts or connections or family, but we came here with a lot of hopes and a lot of dreams. Less than 30 years later, that eight year old kid who came here with nothing is now a member of the most powerful legislative body in the world. That’s the American Dream. That is the exact dream that these 800,000 young Americans want a shot at.”
“Today, in the name of our American values, our faith, and our basic human decency, Democrats call on our Republican colleagues to join us in demanding a vote on the DREAM Act now,” said Leader Pelosi. “We say to our colleagues, it is time to act. America cannot turn its back on DREAMers. We must pass the bipartisan DREAM Act to provide the earned path to citizenship these patriotic young men and women deserve.”