Rep. Grisham on DACA: 'This Is the Civil Rights Test of Our Time'

By Susan Jones | September 11, 2017 | 9:33 AM EDT

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) delivered the Democrats' radio address on Saturday, calling DACA "the civil rights test of our time." (Screen grab from Lujan's Facebook page)

( - Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a New Mexico Democrat, made a plea for amnesty on Saturday, as she delivered the Democrats' weekly radio address.

She called DACA the "civil rights test of our time."

For five years, DACA has unlocked the great potential of 800,000 dreamers. These young patriots made the most of their opportunity to pursue the American Dream, and in turn, they have provided tremendous social and economic gains for communities across this nation.

In my mind, dreamers make our country better. They define the American Dream. They help define who we are as Americans.

Unfortunately, President Trump cowardly eliminated protections for these hopeful Americans. He has once again trapped them in a broken, heartless system and terrified the young dreamers I met last week.

Can you imagine the fear, uncertainty and anxiety this is causing nearly a million young Americans as they wait for the end of a six-month deadline, at the end of which they face the very real threat of deportation?

This is the civil rights test of our time. Are we going to turn our backs on dreamers? Are we going to allow President Trump to use them as pawns in his cruel efforts to divide America?

Grisham, speaking for congressional Democrats, urged Republicans to bring the Dream Act to a vote without delay.

She also addressed the dreamers directly:

"To dreamers, I have this to say to you: We see you. We know you. We believe in you. You represent the best of this country. Keep fighting. Democrats are right there with you, side by side, supporting each other the entire way.

"Today, let us make it clear that this is not just an immigrant issue. Or a Democratic or a Republican issue. This is a human issue. This is an American issue."

Grisham said she has faith that "this wrong" will be corrected.

Bannon: ‘Amnesty is not negotiable’

President Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon took the opposite view, in his interview with "60 Minutes" that aired on Sunday.

Speaking about the dreamers, Bannon said, "I think as the work permits run out, they self-deport," he said. "There is no path to citizenship. No path to a green card. And no amnesty. Amnesty is not negotiable."

Bannon said the focus must be on American citizens:

"Economic nationalism is what this country was built on," he said, referring to We look after our own. We look after our citizens. We look after our manufacturing base."

And by the way, that's every nationality, every race, every religion, every sexual preference -- as long as you're a citizen of our country. As long as you're an American citizen, you're part of this populist economic nationalist movement."

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