As the Dream Act and border become more and more politically intertwined, a group of undocumented activists have let elected officials know that they refuse to be used as bargaining chips. On Monday, September 18, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) spoke at an event in her home town of San Francisco, where she urged Congress to pass the Dream Act – a legislation with bipartisan support that aims to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the United States at a young age. Discussion of the act follows the Trump Administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that has for five years shielded young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
The act will reportedly come tethered to still unclear plans to strengthen the US-Mexico border security, according to The Washington Post. This essentially saves one group of undocumented immigrants – those seen as “good,” because they didn’t choose to cross the border without documentation – at the expense of another, a “bad” group made up of their parents and loved ones.
After she spoke about meeting with President Donald Trump – and before Democrats Barbara Lee and Jared Huffman got a chance to speak – about 40 protesters walked in and denounced the negotiations. Shouting “undocumented, unafraid,” “shut down ICE,” and holding signs that read “fight 4 all 11 million” – the estimated number of undocumented immigrants in the country – in both English and Spanish.
They demanded that the Dream Act come without any border stipulations and that they be included in the process, as the decisions officials make will have grave consequences in their lives. The protesters – reportedly activists from RISE, Faith in Action, and the California Youth Immigrant Justice Alliance – chanted for about 30 minutes, eventually forcing Pelosi, Lee, and Huffman to withdraw from the room. The activists don’t believe the Democrats are doing enough to stand up to Trump or to stand in solidarity with them.
Pelosi disagrees. “The Democrats are the ones who stopped their assault on sanctuary cities, stopped the wall, the increased deportations in our last bill that was at the end of April, and we are determined to get Republican votes to pass the clean Dream Act,” she told reporters later. “Is it possible to pass a bill without some border security? Well, we’ll have to see. We didn’t agree to anything in that regard, except to listen and something that deals with technology or something like that – but nothing like a wall.”
Check out the protest below: