Press Release ● Immigration
For Immediate Release: 
January 10, 2018
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) and  Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Michelle Lujan Grisham led a press conference with DREAMers to call for immediate legislative action to protect DREAMers. Below is a transcript of his remarks:

“Good afternoon. My name is Steny Hoyer, I’m the Democratic Whip in the House of Representatives and I’m joined by Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence from Michigan and by the Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Michelle Lujan Grisham from New Mexico.

“I’m pleased to be here with also, an extraordinary, talented, committed, group of Americans who just don’t have any paper. In every other sense, they’re Americans. As [Senator] Bob Menendez said at the White House yesterday, they put their hand over their heart and pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and they sing the Star Spangled Banner as their national anthem. They came here as young people, as children, and they are, in every sense, Americans.

“And we’re here today with them and with to talk about making sure that their status, which the President of the United States, whom I sat next to yesterday, said should not be returned or sent to some place they do not know, and is not their country, and that they ought to stay here.

“Mr. President, we agree with you, we want to make sure we pass legislation that makes sure that happens now and every day throughout their lives and make sure they have a path to being citizens of the United States.

“At the White House yesterday, President Trump asked if there was anyone at the meeting –and there were 24 people, including Congresswoman Lujan Grisham sitting at the table with the President, and he asked if there was anybody at the table, and there were, I think 17 Republicans and 7 Democrats – was there anyone at the table who did not agree that we needed to protect the DREAMers or the DACA children, which are not all children, they’re young adults. I understand that, but for the short hand of it.

“Of the 24 members present, every one of them said no we need to make sure that this happens. In fact, Senator Feinstein said to the President, ‘Mr. President you’ve agreed we’re going to do this in two phases. One being the DREAMers, the second being comprehensive immigration reform of a system that is broken.’ That is a system that everybody believes needs to be fixed. And we need to do so. But the President agreed we need to do it in two phases because we have an emergency. 122 DREAMers, every day, are losing their protected status. It’s about 850 a week  losing their protected status. So acting now was everybody’s thought at the White House, including the President of the United States.

“DREAMers are in Washington this week to ramp up pressure, and really not so much to ramp up pressure but to show the Members of Congress the extraordinary abilities and qualities and commitment and patriotism of these young people. And why it would be insane for the United States to send them to a land they do not know, have not lived in. They’re Americans as I said, and we need to keep them here. They’re here to meet with Republicans, and yes Democrats, but every Democrat, every Democrat is for the DREAM Act, every Democrat. So all we need is 40 Republicans, maybe 30 Republicans, maybe just 24 to get to 218.

“I’ve met with many DREAMers and heard their compelling stories. You’re going to hear a couple of them today. They’re our teachers, our health care providers, our entrepreneurs, our first responders, our college students, our men and women in the military – all contributing to our nation’s future, to a nation they love, and the nation they call home.

“We can’t wait until March. We need to make sure they’re protected, and included, and welcomed now. Now. Now.

“And if we don’t act, we will see thousands forced underground, losing their jobs and facing deportation as DACA protection expires. We have a chance to do this before the January 19th government funding deadline and, as I said, we should do it now. Democrats will continue to fight every day to get this done so DREAMers can stay here and keep contributing and lift this extraordinary stress off their shoulders. We owe it to them. As fellow human beings, as fellow Americans, to do that.

“I want to thank all the courageous DREAMers who are here today and this week. And I want to thank for their leadership, for their commitment, Maria, Alida, Todd’s not here, but thank you very much for your work that you’ve done.

“And of course I want to thank Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, I want to thank Judy Chu, the Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and I want to thank Cedric Richmond, the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. They have been united, the tri-caucuses, in promoting, educating, and urging the passage of the DREAM Act.

“So now let me turn it over to my dear friend and extraordinary representative for the Hispanic community, an extraordinary representative of the citizens of New Mexico, and a great colleague for all of us, Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico.”