California Democrat Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority Leader, delivered a marathon speech Wednesday in defense of “Dreamers,” the young undocumented immigrants who Democrats and some Republicans are pushing to give permanent legal status.
In an unusual move by a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Pelosi conducted the equivalent of a Senate filibuster, speaking and reading—for eight straight hours—about Dreamers, including impassioned testimonials from some of the nearly 700,000 immigrants whose temporary protected status was suspended by President Donald Trump last year.
Pelosi’s speech unfolded as Republicans in Congress hustled to pass legislation to avert a government shutdown.
But Pelosi and other Democrats have vowed to vote against a budget deal unless Republicans agree to protect the young immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children. Under an Obama-era program known as DACA—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—eligible immigrants have been shielded from deportation and have been issued permits to work.
Some 9,000 teachers in U.S. public schools are protected by DACA, and millions of U.S.-born students in the nation’s schools are the children of undocumented immigrants, many of whom are DACA recipients.
Trump rescinded DACA in September. He ordered Congress to find a legislative solution by March 5 when the program is due to end. Trump, who has pledged that he wants to help the Dreamers, has rejected several bipartisan proposals from lawmakers.
Photo: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California speaks to reporters after staging a day-long speech on Capitol Hill Feb. 7. Pelosi was attempting to force a House vote on protections for undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers.” --Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.