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Nancy Pelosi conducts rare House 'filibuster' lasting more than eight hours in defence of immigrants

Ms Pelosi is able to speak for as long as she would like because she is the top Democrat in the House

Clark Mindock
New York
Wednesday 07 February 2018 18:03 GMT
Nancy Pelosi says majority of America and Republicans support protecting DREAMers

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has conducted a rare House “filibuster” to try and force Republicans to bring up an immigration bill in the chamber.

Ms Pelosi stood in the House chambers Wednesday to defend so-called Dreamers — undocumented immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children — saying that Democrats would oppose any funding bill unless House Speaker Paul Ryan agrees to bring a bipartisan immigration bill to the House floor for a vote.

The filibuster, which is technically not a true filibuster since it is not obstructing the passage of specific legislation, has lasted longer than eight hours.

“There’s nothing partisan or political about protecting dreamers. If a DREAM Act were brought to the floor, it would pass immediately with strong bipartisan support,” Ms Pelosi said early in her speech after noting that polls show there is bipartisan support among Americans for legislation to protect Dreamers.

There have been several proposed “DREAM Acts”, and the bills are generally aimed at providing a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.

“And, I commend my Republican colleagues for their courage in speaking out on this, yet our Dreamers hang in limbo with a cruel cloud of fear and uncertainty above them. The Republican moral cowardice must end,” she continued, referring to Republican leadership’s reluctance to bring a bill to the floor.

The issue played a central role in the government shutdown last month, which lasted three days. Democrats at the time had held up government funding over the issue, but later backed down after receiving promises that a Dreamer bill would be brought to the floor.

Time is running out for a DREAM Act to be passed for as many as 800,000 Dreamers who have received protected status and the ability to work under former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. President Donald Trump has given Congress a March deadline to agree to a legislative fix.

If there is no fix, those previously covered under DACA would face potential deportations or arrests from American immigration forces.

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