Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of H.R. 6, The American Dream and Promise Act
Washington D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 6, The American Dream and Promise Act to protect our courageous and patriotic Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders:
Speaker Pelosi. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for recognition, and his great work on this subject. Also, thank the gentlewoman, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, for yielding and for her extraordinary leadership.
Congresswoman Lofgren has served – she’s been an immigration lawyer. She’s taught immigration law. She has served now as Chair of the Immigration [and Citizenship] Subcommittee. She was masterful in bringing elements together to make today possible.
I commend our distinguished Chairman, Mr. Nadler, for his leadership and Congresswoman Jayapal for making this success so possible.
But also, I commend Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard. When we first passed this bill on the Floor a long time ago, it was her legislation. She’s the godmother – that’s – there are young godmothers and she’s the godmother of this legislation.
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez who was Chair of the Hispanic Caucus when we passed the bill the first time. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, who’s been a champion on this issue. Congresswoman Judy Chu, Chair of [the Congressional Asian Pacific] Caucus. Congresswoman Karen Bass of [the Congressional Black] Caucus. And Congressman Joaquin – Chairman – they are all Chairs – Joaquin Castro of the Hispanic Caucus.
Inside maneuvering, but the outside mobilization is what made today possible. The stories of the Dreamers elevated this issue. Their stories told with such dignity and patriotism for our country. The mobilization that they evoked from their story – evoked from their stories for other people to take up their cause and their case because it was so important to America and today, we are not only honoring and rewarding our Dreamers, but we are also addressing the Temporary Protected Status and DED recipients so that they feel much safer.
A year ago, I stood on the Floor of this House – yes, in four-inch heels, for eight hours, if you want any more statistics – told stories about our Dreamers. I couldn’t yield because then I would give up my time. I told the stories of Dreamers.
These Dreamers are the constant reinvigoration of America. Dreamers, such as Fernando, who lives in my district, who came to the U.S. when he was just 9 years old, he had an excellent education, which I’ll submit for the record. He now works at UCSF, that would be the University of California at San Francisco, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, where he is working hard to provide new insights into deadly diseases and disorders.
Other stories to tell from our business community, Javier, who came from Mexico City when he was five and now employs hundreds of Americans as CEO of an investment firm;
To technology and innovation like Saba who came from Pakistan and now a Ph.D. Candidate studying cancer and other deadly genetic diseases;
To our security, like Andrea, who came from Peru and who is hoping to follow in her father’s footsteps as a member of the Air Force. The list goes on and on.
My colleague from California, Mr. Mike Thompson, is always bragging that in California, five thousand of our teachers are DACA, are Dreamers. Five thousand of our teachers. We want to give back to them.
The courage, patriotism and determination to succeed of those young people strengthen our nation, they must be allowed to stay. There’s nothing partisan, political, about protecting Dreamers and TPS and DED recipients.
If a Dream Act had been brought to the Floor in the last Congress, under the Republican majority and leadership, I do believe that it would have passed under a Republican majority by a strong bipartisan support.
Every President in recent memory, Democratic and Republican, has understood the value of immigration to our nation. In his last speech as President of the United States, President Ronald Reagan said, I have an important message to communicate to the country I love.
He went on to say, ‘Thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we’re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas and always on the cutting edge, always leading the world to the next frontier. This quality is vital to our future as a nation.’
President Reagan went on to say, ‘If we ever close the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.’
Today, our new Democratic House Majority is advancing that leadership in the world in a bipartisan way, hopefully, with the Dream and Promise Act.
We are pleased this legislation opens the door to opportunity to TPS and DED recipients who are American in every way – raising families, starting businesses, contributing to our communities, fighting in our wars over decades.
And once we pass this bill, we will fight – we want it to pass the Senate and be signed by the President – but we want it to be a bridge to understanding why we need comprehensive immigration reform for an immigration system that embraces the contributions of our newcomers.
Protecting Dreamers and TPS and DED Americans is about honoring the respect for family that is the heart of our faith and at the heart of who we are as Americans.
I urge a strong bipartisan vote to pass this legislation and to safeguard every person’s right to pursue his or her American dream.
My colleagues, today on the Floor of this House, we have the opportunity to be part of history, to be on the right side of history, but more importantly, to be on the right side of the future by voting and recognizing the value of Dreamers to that future.
I yield back the balance of my time.