WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called on President Trump to be a “great immigration president” like George W. Bush, while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) ripped the president’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as “brainless.”
In a morning press conference along with DREAM Act sponsor Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), Pelosi called the DACA decision “a despicable act of political cowardice” because Trump left the announcement up to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“President Trump is the first president in 30 years — let’s just go back to Reagan; we can go back further. President Reagan not only acted, he acted after Congress acted. And he said Congress didn’t go far enough. So he and President — then to become President George Herbert Walker Bush did the Family Fairness agenda — to do more than Congress did,” she said.
“President Clinton followed suit. President George W. Bush was a great immigration president, and we know that President Obama was a great leader, especially concerned about our DREAMers.”
Pelosi called Trump the “first president in modern times, in the lives of these DREAMers, who has been anti-immigration, rejecting the idea that immigration is the lifeblood of our country.”
Schumer said that “the president’s decision to end DACA was heartless, and it was brainless.”
“I’m glad that some Republicans in Congress have voiced their opposition to the president’s decision, because we’re going to need them to right the ship. Congress has an ability and obligation to ask — to act, which is why we, today, are calling on Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell to immediately put the DREAM Act on the floor for a vote in the House and Senate,” he said, predicting “overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle.”
“…If a clean DREAM Act does not come to the floor in September, we’re prepared to attach it to other items this fall until it passes.”
Durbin lauded his DREAM Act co-sponsor, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and “three other Republican senators who have come forward so far deserve the credit too: Lisa Murkowski, Jeff Flake and yesterday, Cory Gardner.”
“We need eight more Republican senators to step up for the 60 votes we need to pass this in the Senate,” he added.
Harris noted that some 220,000 of the 800,000 DACA beneficiaries live in her home state, California, and said she’s met “senior members of this administration who, when I asked, had to confess they’ve never met a DREAMer.”
“How can you form such strong opinions about people you’ve never met, people you don’t know, and then allow this population of people to be vilified?” the senator asked.
Pelosi added of the DREAM Act that “if our whip, Steny Hoyer, has his way, we will have 100 percent of the House Democrats voting for this.”
In a joint statement after a morning meeting with Trump, Pelosi and Schumer said that the president and congressional leadership “agreed to pass aid for Harvey, an extension of the debt limit, and a continuing resolution both to December 15, all together.”
“Both sides have every intention of avoiding default in December and look forward to working together on the many issues before us,” they said. “As Democratic leaders, we also made it clear that we strongly believe the DREAM Act must come to the floor and pass as soon as possible and we will not rest until we get this done.”