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tv   House Democrats on Immigration  CSPAN  January 10, 2018 8:53pm-9:30pm EST

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system is when the opposing side always runs to the ninth circuit and almost always wins before being reversed by higher courts. on capitol hill, democrats and republicans gave their response. we will show the democrats' press conference first. >> hello, ms. brenda. >> hello, mr. hoyer.
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good afternoon, i am steny hoyer. i'm joined by congresswoman brenda lawrence from michigan and by the chairman of the congressional hispanic caucus. from new mexico. i am very pleased to be here also with an extraordinary talented, committed group of americans who just don't have any paper. in every other sense they're americans. as bob menendez said at the white house yesterday, they put their hand over their heart and pledged 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
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americans. and we are here today with them and with forward u.s. 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 someplace they do not know and is not their country and that they ought to stay here. mr. president, we agree with you. mr. president, we want to make sure that we pass legislation that makes sure that that happens now and every day throughout their lives. and make sure that 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 grisham sitting at the table with the president. he asked if there was anybody at the table and there were i think
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17 republicans and seven democrats. was there anyone at the table who did not agree that we needed to protect the d.r.e.a.m.ers or the daca children, which are not all children. they're young adults. i understand that. [laughter] but for the shorthand 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 that we're going to do this in two phases. two phases, one being the d.r.e.a.m.ers and the second being comprehensive immigration reform of a system that is broken. of a system that does not give people access to legally coming into the united states of america. that is a system that everybody believes needs to be fixed. and we need to do so. but the president agreed we ought to do it in two phases
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because we have an emergency. 122 d.r.e.a.m.ers every day are losing their protected status. that's almost -- it's about 850 a week are losing their protected status. acting now was everybody's thought at the white house, including the president of the united states. d.r.e.a.m.ers are in washington this week to ramp up pressure. really not so much to ramp up pressure but to show the members of congress the extraordinary abilities that quality 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 are 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 d.r.e.a.m.er
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act. every democrat. all we need is really 40 republicans, maybe 30 republicans, maybe just 24 to get to 218. i met with many d.r.e.a.m.ers and have heard their compelling stories. you're going to hear a couple today. they're our teachers, our health care providers, our entrepreneurs, our first responders, our college students, our men and women in military, all contributing to america's future, to the nation they love and the nation they call home. we can't wait until march. we need to make sure that they're protected and included and welcomed now. now. now. [applause]
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and if we don't act, we will see thousands forced underground losing their jobs and facing deportation as da caca 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 d.r.e.a.m.ers can stay here and keep contributing and lift this extraordinary stress from their shoulders and from their minds. we owe it to them. as fellow human beings, as fellow americans to do that. i want to thank all the courageous d.r.e.a.m.ers who are here today and this week and i want to thank forward u.s. for their leadership, for their commitment.
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thank you very much for your work that you have done. and of course i want to thank chair woman michelle grishsam and the congressional spanish caucus. i want to thank judy chu and i want to thank cedric richmond, the chair of the congressional black caucus. they have uniting the passage of and educated the passage of the dream act. let me turn it over to my dear friend and extraordinary hispanicative of the community and representatives of the citizens of new mexico and the great colleague for all of us, michelle grisham of new mexico. [applause]
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>> i'm too short clearly. but that's all right. we'll make it work. >> i probably knocked them all down. >> it's all right. are we all right so far? i need to be able to see your faces. >> can you get it now? are you okay? >> got it? i think i'm all right for now. so, again, thank you. as one of the shortest members of congress, this is just -- i think i am the shortest member of congress. this is just my life, so thank you all for your patience. and thank you to our incredible leader whip hoyer and i really appreciate your remarks. this is really about celebrating the incredible stories and courage and every effort, every single day that these incredible young d.r.e.a.m.ers and their entire families, they are sacrificing to make the case.
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that our values are reflected, if we are clear about doing something, about making their status permanent with a pathway to citizenship. and that's what we are fighting for. you might have heard yesterday that i crashed the white house meeting. [applause] >> that is true and i've got this fabulous guy to thank for it, because look, we want an inclusive effort so that we are making it very clear to the white house federal administration and to our colleagues that this is absolutely doable and fixable , and that the hispanic caucus is responsible and really honored that we get to represent the millions of people and make sure that our immigrant communities always have a seat right at the table as we march forward to figure out a
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legislative fix by january 19th. i got to think about other trail blazers. shirley chisholm, she said if they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair. i might have to say or bring a hoyer and you might get it done. that's why we're here with d.r.e.a.m.ers. we're making sure by the 19th we don't lose a single second or any momentum. these are young people as you know. i know you know all the stories, they've done everything right. i make this statement all the time. if you were to take a look at the collective field of elected officials at every level across the country, i assure you that you would be surprised at the number who couldn't meet the requirements, including a criminal background check that these young people are required to meet.
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they do everything right. 22,000 teachers, lawyers, doctors, med students, they're working in long-term care, they're working in every aspect of our economy in a meaningful way. they are leading the future of this country. it's a bright future indeed and we're going to do everything in our power to continue to fight for them. congress must recognize their humanity. and we must have a law that says unequivocally that they are americans. because they are. and today i'm encouraged that the president, who has assured us in that bipartisan group of lawmakers in attendance that he was also committed to that goal. and i'm encouraged that we've got some court action with an injunction. these are all positive steps. but we cannot rest on any of those small steps until we have a legislative fix.
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it's important to recognize that the federal district judge ending the program, that he said it was another recognition, that it was unwise and it inflicted incredible harm on young people who have done everything their government has asked of them. as long as we don't have a permanent solution, we're going to continue to make this fight. this is a crisis with lives on the line. you heard him say how many every day. it's 15,000 so far. god forbid if any lawmaker says to you that we have until march, that's more than 20,000 individuals' lives that we turn upside down and put them at risk. it is an outrageous way to behave. we must continue to make the way that we have the opportunity for productive meaningful negotiations and we have an opportunity to provide in all members of congress an opportunity for a meaningful solution.
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all eyes are on congress and the trump administration to find a solution. and i believe that we're close to getting a fix for these young people and that we need to remain focused on our message in the upcoming days and events towards our goal. i have no doubt that there will be protected legal battles and other issues. we will remain focused. and i know that these d.r.e.a.m.ers will do the same. so we're committed. i know you're committed. and i'm really honored to be here today. thanks for being in the cold as i continue to go on too long. how do you not get incredibly excited and passionate and fired up about this group of incredible young americans who have shown what courage really looks like and how we can find a path forward? and so with that, i get to apologize for letting congress kick this down the road for far too long and we're not going to let them do that anymore. [applause]
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>> are you going to introduce the next speaker? >> yeah. >> all right. i'll step away. >> the microphones are working. a president.roduce he is the president of his didn't government at gilford college in north carolina. it is a predominantly nonhispanic college and he's the president. he's the president because he has demonstrated to his fellow students the kind of character, ability, energy and commitment to i'm sure north carolina but to his country as well. they elected him president. he serves his community as a student body president. he is expected to graduate in may of this year. so he's doing everything that we expect of him. we ought to make sure that
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hector, like all of these young people, adds value to his country, america. hector. [applause] >> good afternoon, everyone. my name is hector suarez. i am 20 years old from greensborough north carolina. i'm also a daca recipient but not for much longer. it expires on january 21st and is in 11 days. i will be graduating this upcoming may. i will be graduating in may. my plan for after graduation was to pursue a career in teaching because that's why my passion is. i currently mentor and tutor kids from a diverse background.
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there are kids who can see someone like themselves in me and in the people they work with, the people that are behind me. and that's something that i never got to see in the classroom when i was younger. there's currently over 20,000 daca recipients who are searches -- teachers all caps the country, including someone who will speak after me. and then there are countless other individuals like myself who are about to graduate from college who without a permanent legislative solution will never have the opportunity to teach in the same system where we grew up, a system that's currently experiencing a shortage of teachers. a system that needs us and our talents. this is why i need something to happen as soon as tomorrow. two months ago i was prepared to apply for teach for america and graduate school.
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that same day when i had already started my applications, i found out that my daca renewal had been rejected along with almost 2,000 other d.r.e.a.m.ers due to a postal service delay. that day was one of the worst days of my academic career and even possibly i would say one of the worst days of my life. my parents always told me that if you worked hard you will achieve your dreams. but i feel like all of this hard work was just not going to pay off. i remember the day that daca was introduced. it gave me the motivation that i needed. i went from being an 8-year-old who knew no english at all to being in the top 2% of my graduating class. [applause] >> i was also one of the only
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two students in my class who was able to graduate with an associate's degree along with their high school diploma. that was a really big deal because i was in high school taking college classes and still working a part-time job to help my parents out at home. i now have 11 days to plan my future. that's 11 days where i'll be attending school, fulfilling my duties as student body president, and doing service with my community. sometimes i just feel numb to this, to what is happening right now. i no longer feel like i have control of my future. i urge congress to pass a legislation that will protect me and thousands of other individuals. 122 people are no longer -- are losing their status every day
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, and in 11 days i will be one of those people. i'll also be honest and say that i'm not just speaking for myself. i'm speaking for the other 20,000 plus teachers who are daca recipients who will just drastically lose their status. they need us -- the kids need us to be there. my niece needs someone who shares her family's experiences to represent her in the education system and all over the united states. the country that she and i call home. thank you. >> thank you, hector. [applause] >> i'd now like to introduce briefly brenda lawrence from the state of michigan. [applause] >> thank you, congressman steny hoyer. thank you for your leadership and hispanic caucus. hector and every last one of you here, this is what i have to say today. this is what democracy looked
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like. i love this amazing country, this country of rights and freedoms. but sometimes in our country's history we didn't get it right. i stand here as an african-american woman who my forefathers based on the laws and the policies of this country enslaved my forefathers. but democracy spoke and people stood up just like these young people today, and we still strong, and our country was confronted with the injustice of their practices and their laws , and we were able to change it. and that's why we're standing here today. we will not be silent. we will not allow our country, who we know, we say one nation under god, indivisible with liberty and justice for all for you to have the audacity to exclude, to be lazy, to not leg -- legislate to protect these
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young people, who are contributing to the amazing success of the united states. ending daca in michigan that i represent will result in the state of michigan losing more than $418 million in our national and our annual gdp. these are not people asking for a handout. these are not outside. these are not criminals. these are our children who grew up and did the right thing based on the american dream. i stand with them every day. i stand with them as a black woman in america. i stand with them as a woman in america. and i stand with them as a united states citizen saying it's time for us to do the right thing and correct our history , and let's make a difference together. get to work and let's make these children home really a place that they can continue to contribute with their head held high. thank you. [cheers and applause]
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>> congressman says he passes because he's not sure he can follow that. but i'm going to introduce him anyway. congressman from new york. >> all right. i'm going to show the d.r.e.a.m.ers a photo, right? this is my photo of my green card. little younger than you. good-looking guy, right? didn't have a scratch on my face back then. this is what you want. a green card. just like you, i was looking through old photos and i found a photo of my green card. >> you should show it to them too. >> and so i don't know if you can see it from that far, but let's try. i'll go to you later on.
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but listen, much has been said about these young people. when you see them, how can you say no to them? look at them. how can you say no in their faces? how can you be so mean spirited to say no to these young people? and they want to stand in line and get that green card. and they will have to wait eight years. they'll get a temporary green card for eight years. and after eight years then they're going to have to wait another five years to become a u.s. citizen. that's 13 years. and they have to go through a background check. they're going to have to take a medical exam. they have to go through all these hurdles just to get that green card. and that's all they want. an opportunity to make themselves and their families part of our great nation. they already are part of our great nation.
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they are teachers and doctors, members of the armed forces. bigger than any one of our congressional district. you take any one of our congressional districts, and there are more dreamers than any number of people in our congressional district. that's all they want. a shot at making better for themselves and their families. getting that green card and becoming a u.s. citizen. and then yes, after that , petitioning for their family members, because you cannot have two tiers of citizenship. you can have a citizenship that gives you the right to privileges to do anything you want in america. then a junior citizenship that says no, you cannot petition for your mother and father. i don't know if that's even constitutional. but they deserve that opportunity. and they know and they love this nation. they are part of this nation. and they are here to say this is their time. that's why i stand here with our leader steny hoyer and michelle
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who have done a great job at advocating for them. and our leader was there fighting for you yesterday. let's not get the dream act saddled with toxic stuff that will make it very difficult for the entire country to debate this. this in itself in its own merits is meritorious. in its own merits. 80% of americans, whether they're republicans or democrats, eight out of ten americans across the country want to support these young people. that's the heart of america. an open heart to say come in, i'm going to give you a helping hand, i'm going to lift among us. not the mean spirited one that say go back to a country that they don't even know. many of them may not even speak the language of the nation where they were born.
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and so this is a crucial fight for the soul of our country. of america. and just like that young boy that you saw in that photo there that had that green card, they want one too. let's give it to them. god bless this nation. [applause] >> i'm not a judge or anything, but i think you see the passion in all of our voices. thank you very much, congressman. i have the distinct honor now of introducing to you another dreamer from my own district, the largest school district in the state of new mexico. she's from the public academy of the performing arts. she was also teacher of the year , and new mexico like so many other states is really struggling to recruit and retain qualified educators. here we have an example of not just someone who meets those qualifications but someone who embodies the top tier of all of
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those efforts, who makes a difference in the lives of children. and in my state, it's one of the worst states in the nation to raise a child. you need educator the who are lifting them up and giving them a chance. i want to introduce to you yvonne. [applause] >> thank you. i am 26 years old. i am an educator, an advocate, lifelong learner and also daca recipient. my family immigrated to the united states when i was 12 years old. i attended middle school, high school, undergrad and now graduate school in new mexico. i earned my degree in secondary education from the university of new mexico. and i am now working on my master's degree also in education with a focus on reflective practice. i have been teaching spanish at the public academy for performing arts for the past four years.
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i teach grades nine through 12 , and these students have all kinds of different levels in terms of language learning. i have students that have had no experience with spanish, so we start with a, b, cs. now, it is urgent that there's a solution today so that i may keep serving these students. throughout my years of learning, teachers were a crucial part of my support system to achieve my american dreams. mr. kennedy was my 10th grade science teacher. he was my first adult other than my parents to tell me that i should go to college. that was my teacher. years later as a mentor and friend, he would go with me to my biometrics appointment more daca to take my fingerprints. we both wore suits. we did not know what to expect. we were so scared. he went in support as my teacher, as my mentor, as an american citizen.
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i feel a responsibility to give back that support. daca was implemented two years before i graduated from u of m. that allowed me to partake in opportunities that i never thought would be possible. i tutored undergrad students in spanish and writing while i student taught my senior year. when i graduated, i started my journey of teaching my students and to believeg in their dreams. my classroom is a space where students can show up whole. it is also a place where i show up whole every day. i was in my classroom when i found out daca had been canceled. i cried at my desk. i was and still am devastated. when my first class of the morning came in, they noticed something was wrong. we just created a caring community of learners. they asked me. they really showed their support and outrage at the situation.
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my students know my story. some of them lived parts of it themselves as d.r.e.a.m.ers. after that day, a few weeks same spot in my classroom, i would be surprised by staff members of the new mexico public education department to award me the honor of being named the 2018 new mexico teacher of the year. [applause] >> i cried then too, a different cry, but similar in a way tied to my dreams and my hopes. there is an urgency behind the d.r.e.a.m. act. every single day young d.r.e.a.m.ers like me are losing critical protections that allow us to live the life that we lead in the only place that we call home. it doesn't make sense to take teachers out of classrooms when there is a teacher shortage in our state, in our country. it doesn't make sense to not allow people that are passionate about giving back and helping our students not be in the clag -- the classroom to the health
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leaders. when my daca expires, i will be ripped out of my classroom and taken away from my students. this thought breaks my heart. one entity of the government has named me worthy of recognition for the work i do in my classroom, while the lack of policy and urgency behind this issue has the power to take my expertise away from serving american students. it is time that students are given -- excuse me, it is time that d.r.e.a.m.ers are given stability to ensure that we're able to keep impacting our communities in which we live and serve millions of americans. whether that is in hospitals or in labs, in city offices, or classrooms like me. we cannot wait. we need a solution and we need it today. thank you. [applause] >> that was terrific. who among us would tell a president of a student body, leave the country? who among us would say a teacher
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of the year, leave us? go out of the country. this is an extraordinarily powerful symbol. we think the terrorists were flying a plane to knock that symbol down. we have one other -- others, as well -- but if you were going to name the next iconic symbol of america, you would name the lady who lifts her lamp beside the golden door. that's who you would name. sending a message to the world that we welcome you to make america better. to participate in making america all that it can be. and who among us would deny for one second that the people who have made america great are those who came from other lands? they were not here.
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we all came from another land. and we have made america better. let us hope that we have the wisdom to do what the president of the united states said, don't send these young people home. excuse me. to another land. from which they came. and so we're here today to say, time is of the essence. know the urgency of this legislation. and let's move it asap, which is no later than the 19th of january. we yield for some questions. [applause] >> you attended the meeting yesterday. how much does the decision in san francisco at the federal court decision on daca affect or benefit the ongoing negotiations that were supposed to start
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today on this? >> very frankly, what we're seeking is not a temporary court order. and the court order is temporary. it's subject to appeal. what we are seeking is a permanent solution. so to the extent that the court acted as miss grisham pointed out, congresswoman grisham pointed out, it was a positive. no doubt about that. but it is not what we're seeking. what we are seeking is legislation that not only protects the d.r.e.a.m.ers, but also puts them on a path to full citizenship and participation in our country. last question for me. because i've got another meeting. >> in terms of -- obviously, we hear what democrats would like to see happen with this. what would you guys be willing to live with from republicans? is this going to be money for a border wall? what is the package going to look like that you would be comfortable with, sir? >> well, i'm not going to negotiate, frankly, standing here. what i can tell you is, our objective is clear.
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there are over 218 people who have signed on to a bill which has a path to citizenship and protects the d.r.e.a.m.ers. now, there are a lot of other things being discussed. i'm sure they'll continue to be discussed. but the objective i have just articulated is our objective. and we will discuss other things that people bring up. >> are you close to a deal? >> i wouldn't say that. but i would say the president of the united states said to all of us sitting around the table, get this done. we don't want to send these kids home. excuse me, i keep saying home. i know this is your home. and i apologize to you. >> change the momentum, i think. >> yeah. i think it did change the momentum. it changed the urgency, and the president said, you get something done, i will sign it. let's hope that happens. let's hope it happens soon. thank you very much. >> thank you. [cheers and applause]
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