House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi appeared flustered, stunned, and confused Monday as a rambunctious group of undocumented protesters disrupted her press event defending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).
A group of about 100 Dreamers/DACA recipients demonstrated their anger over Democrats working with President Trump to end the Obama-era program. They overtook the stage and eventually ran Pelosi out of her own news event.
Pelosi, standing behind a podium decorated with a sign that said #protectdreamers, said “Make America dream again. We must strike while the iron is hot and get this done in a matter of days.”
But a group of about 30 young people descended on the large room where the House Minority Leader stood with other local lawmakers from the San Francisco area and began chanting slogans.
"Democrats deport" crowd chants after taking over Nancy Pelosi DREAM Act press event in SF pic.twitter.com/5SpCGEUVU9
— Evan Sernoffsky (@EvanSernoffsky) September 18, 2017
“We, the undocumented youth, will not be a marketing chip for Trump,” they recited in unison. “Democrats created an out-of-control deportation machine and handed it over to Trump. We demand accountability.”
As Pelosi stood there with her staff, the crowd of protesters closed in on her, surrounding those assembled for the news conference.
They shouted: “Undocumented, unafraid.”
A discombobulated Pelosi exclaimed, “You don’t?! … It’s clear you don’t want any answers!”
She turned to her staff and muttered, “They don’t want the DREAM Act …”
A clearly shaken Nancy Pelosi mutters "they don't want the DREAM Act" about pro DACA protesters who interrupt press conference. pic.twitter.com/88kPHlaStg
— Scott McGrew (@ScottMcGrew) September 18, 2017
Trump announced last week that he was ending DACA, which President Obama created by executive order in 2012.
The program protects undocumented immigrants brought to the US illegally as children by their parents from deportation. It allows the Dreamers to receive two-year permits that allow them to work or go to school.
Trump ordered the phasing out of the program but gave Congress six months to work out a deal to fix it.
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with Trump last week over dinner in the White House and emerged to say they had reached a deal with the president on DACA.
“You called this press conference in our name to defend the so-called Dream Act, but you already traded in our parents in our name,” the Dreamers chanted amid a series of other accusations. “We demand a clean bill that protects immigrant youth without hurting our families,” they chanted.
Some of the protesters carried signs that read, “Democrats are Deporters.”
They appeared upset that Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have been negotiating with Trump in order to pass a law that will grant amnesty to people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
“We undocumented youth demand a clean bill…We undocumented youth demand that you do not sell out our community and our values…We undocumented youth will not be a bargaining chip for Trump,” the agitators shouted, according to CBS San Francisco.
After the initial outburst from protesters, Pelosi tried to regain control of the event.
“Let me say this, because you’ve had your say, and it’s beautiful to our ears to hear you protecting your self dignity,” Pelosi began.
“No lip service!” the demonstrators chanted.
After about a half hour of pandemonium, Pelosi was ushered up the stairs by her staff as the protesters bellowed, “You’re a liar!”
— Ned Ryun (@nedryun) September 18, 2017