House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) today delivered an eight-hour speech in opposition to a budget bill, urging her fellow members to find a permanent solution to immigration debates that have left individuals and families across the country anxious about their futures. In a record-breaking address being called a “DACA-buster,” Pelosi used her power as a party leader in the chamber to elevate the voices of young immigrants fighting to stay in the country they call home.
From 10:04 a.m. to 6:10 p.m., Pelosi read testimony from DREAMers—undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children and were enrolled in the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Pelosi wore four-inch heels and drank only water during the eight-hour speech. According to the House Historian’s office, it was the longest speech in floor history.
Throughout, Twitter users sent Pelosi messages of gratitude, encouragement and support with the hashtag #GoNancyGo.
Just seeing all of these #GoNancyGo messages. Truly very moving. But let's not lose focus of who really matters here. Thank you to our #Dreamers. And thank you to your parents for allowing us all the pleasure of having you be a part of our American family every day. #DREAMActNow
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 7, 2018
President Trump suspended the DACA program in September, instructing Congress to come up with a path forward for the program within six months. That program’s fate is now uncertain, as are the legal protections offered for participating; now, many DREAMers fear deportation to countries they’re unfamiliar with.
Senate Democrats brokered a deal with Republicans to avert a government shutdown earlier this month that was contingent on legislation addressing DACA being considered in the chamber. Pelosi is demanding the same now of Speaker Paul Ryan. The short-term government funding bill passed as a result of the initial compromise expires at midnight Thursday—and without Democratic support, the bill being put forth now in the House to extend it won’t pass.
“We have to be strong as a country,” Pelosi told her colleagues from the floor, “to respect the aspirations of people who are our future. The young people are our future and these dreamers are part of that. They’ve been enriched… by the greatness of our country. Our plea to the speaker is for us, for ourselves, to honor the values of our founders.”