Pelosi Says Congress Has ‘a Duty and an Obligation’ to Let DREAMers Stay

By Staff | December 21, 2017 | 3:01 PM EST

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Dec. 20, 2017. (Screen Capture)

( - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told the House Rules Committee today that Congress has a “duty” to protect the “DREAMers” by taking action to allow them to stay in the United States.

“Congress has a duty and an obligation to protect these DREAMers--the committee should take this opportunity and take the bipartisan DREAM Act a vote on the floor,” Pelosi said.


“DREAMers” is the term used to describe people whom President Barack Obama allowed to stay in the United States under his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. This program, put in place unilaterally by the administration and never approved by Congress, allowed individuals who were illegally in the United States, had come here before their 16th birthday, and had not turned 31 as of June 15, 2012, to reside, attend school and work in the United States.

On September 5, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the policy, putting in place a transition period in which the administration will continue to renew DACA requests that expire before March 5.

“I would hope that this distinguished committee would allow for a rule for us to take up the DREAM Act--the Committee should give the American people a vote--give the American people an opportunity to attach the DREAM Act to the CR,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi said the vast majority of Americans want the DREAMers to stay and become legal residents of the United States.

“By an 84 to 12 margin, Americans believe that Dreamers should be allowed to stay in America and gain legal status, including 77 percent who support a path to citizenship, 81 percent of Independents want citizenship status for Dreamers, 57 percent of Republicans—Republicans--want citizenship for DREAMers,” she said.

“The three B’s: badges (law enforcement), bibles (our faith groups), and the business community all strongly support the DREAM Act,” said Pelosi.

In addition, Pelosi said not deporting the DREAMers will save America money.

“According to an analysis by the conservative CATO Institute, deporting DACA recipients would cost taxpayers $60 billion,” said Pelosi. “The Center for American Progress [said it] would cost our economy a staggering $460 billion over the next decade. CATO was addressing deportation, Center for American Progress was talking about productivity of our economy.”

She lauded the courage of the DREAMers and how they represented American values.

“The courage, determination and optimism of DREAMers makes America stronger and more prosperous every day,” said Pelosi.  “The DREAMers with their hopes, dreams, aspirations and dreams of their families to make the future better for the next generation. Well, that’s an American value and, in committing to that American value, they make America more American.

“They embody the best in our nation: patriotism, hard work, perseverance,” she said. “We should not leave them to celebrate the holidays in fear watching their DACA protection expire, fearing being deported from the only home they have ever known.”

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