WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks on the House Floor today urging Republicans to bring the DREAM Act to the Floor for a vote and find a permanant legislative solution to protect DREAMers. Below is a video and a transcript of his remarks:
Click here to watch a video of his remarks.
“Mr. Speaker, last week on the East Front of the Capitol on the lawn, I met with a group of DREAMers outside the Capitol. DREAMers, of course, refer to young Americans who were brought here as children without proper documentation but who have grown up in our communities, studied in our schools, and are American in every way but on paper.
“The DREAMers I met with, Mr. Speaker, were fasting. Fasting to protest the President's destructive decision to end the DACA program that allowed them to register to live and work in the only country they consider to be theirs. And they were fasting to encourage us in this House to take action to remedy their situation by enacting a permanent fix, as President Trump has suggested.
“One of the young DREAMers, Mr. Speaker, I met was a young man named Diego. He's 28. Born in Mexico, he came here as a young child. He was raised in Arkansas. He didn't make a decision to come here. He was brought here by his parents. Thanks to DACA, he was able to get a job, a driver's license, pay taxes to support the country he loves. Diego is now a graduate of the University of Arkansas and a Public Policy Fellow with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. How stupid it would be to send him to some other country that he does not know.
“I also met Karen from Florida, age 22. She also was brought here from Mexico at a very young age. Now she attends college and owns a small business.
“There was Fernanda from Alabama. She's 23 and graduated from a four-year university with honors, thanks to the scholarships she could apply to once registered under DACA. How stupid it would be to say to her: leave.
“There is Brandon, age 19. He told me that he has a younger sister who was born here. He, of course, does not want to be separated from her as a result of being deported. What kind of a judgment it is that we would divide a sister and a brother? Particularly a brother who's made such a positive impact on his community.
“Mr. Speaker, this issue is about real people. Real people – they are Americans in mind and in spirit because they grew up here, they love this country, and they contribute to building our communities and nation every day. Let's not forget that.
“That's why so many thousands of businesses and major business groups in America have said, keep DACA in place.
“That's why the President said, fix this and I’ll sign the bill.
“That's why so many churches, and communities, and educators, and medical personnel have said, keep these folks here. They are making a positive difference for America.
“Mr. Speaker, I urge the Speaker and the Majority Leader to bring a bill to the Floor that will do what President Trump says we ought to do and put DACA in legislation. Pass the DREAM Act. We're going to have an opportunity to do that at the end of this month, next month, and hopefully we'll get that done.
“Let's pass this bipartisan, bicameral DREAM Act without delay so that Diego, Karen, Fernanda, Brandon, and so many thousands more who see America as their country and who are making a positive contribution to their country can stay here. They know no other home than America and they want to be a part of building this country's future.
“Mr. Speaker, immigrants have always made that contribution. It is immigrants who built this country. My father came here at the age of 32 in 1934. He came from Denmark. So I’m the son of an immigrant, born here in America. He served in World War II and became a citizen through his service in World War II.
“I rarely quote Rush Limbaugh, he said, ‘we're not going to send these kids home.’ Eighty-four percent of the American people, in that neighborhood, believe that we ought not to send these kids back to the countries of their birth, which are not their home. That's bad policy. Let's listen. Let's act. Let's make the lives of these young people more secure and more productive for America. I yield back the balance of my time.”