CHC Chair Delivers Previous Question to Bring Dream Act to a Vote
Nov 1, 2017
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) delivered the following remarks as part of an effort to force a vote on the Dream Act. If successful, the bi-partisan Dream Act would have been immediately brought up to the floor for a vote. Unfortunately, House Republicans blocked the Chairwoman’s effort to allow a vote or even debate on the bill:
“It’s been 57 days since the President abruptly and irresponsibly terminated the DACA program.
For 57 days, students have been panicked about how much longer they can go to school; brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters are terrified that they might lose their loved ones any minute; parents are afraid to take their children to the hospital or to school; and breadwinners don’t know whether they will be able to continue to earn a paycheck to support themselves and their family.
And for 57 days, the Republican controlled Congress has been silent—doing nothing to provide certainty for 800,000 American Dreamers who are caught up in congressional dysfunction.
Without a permanent legislative fix, these young Americans, like Maritza from Texas, will be at risk of detention and deportation.
Maritza works part time to help her pay for college so she can pursue her dream career in journalism after graduation.
Over months, she and her family saved up a thousand dollars to pay for an attorney and the DACA program application fee. All she needed was her school to provide her records so she could finish her application.
But then Hurricane Harvey hit and flooded her family’s home in East Houston and shut down school for two weeks.
While Maritza and her mother were recovering from Harvey’s devastation, they were the victims of another disaster—But this one was created by their own government.
They watched Attorney General Jeff Sessions announce on live T.V. that the Trump Administration was ending DACA and cutting off new applications for young immigrants just like her.
The devastating news crushed Maritza and her family. Now they, and countless others, have waited 57 days for us to fix it.
Today, we have the opportunity to uphold our values and pass the Dream Act so that these young Americans aren’t waiting in fear any longer.
Mr. Speaker, there is a quote directly above your chair from Daniel Webster imploring us to do “something worthy to be remembered.”
So how will we be remembered? Will the Republican-controlled Congress continue to sit here and passively accept the Trump Administration’s cowardly decision to eliminate protections for countless Dreamers across the country?
Or do we want to do something about it?
We have an opportunity to protect our neighbors, coworkers, classmates, friends, constituents, and members of our military who have done everything to try to contribute to this great country.
One vote would change the lives of nearly 800,000 Americans forever.
One vote would allow them to pursue the American dream; to go to school; continue to work; buy a house, or start a business.
Mr. Speaker, isn’t that why we were sent here? Wouldn’t that be something worthy to be remembered?
I ask my colleagues to vote against the Previous Question so that we can immediately bring the DREAM act to the Floor and provide certainty for Americans like Maritza who want to continue to work, learn, and live in the country that they love – the only country they have ever known.
We cannot afford to wait another day.
I yield back.”
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The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.
Carlos Paz Jr.