House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi praised parents that travelled to the U.S. illegally with their children as having done “a great thing” for the nation during her weekly press conference Wednesday.
“Their families did a great thing for our country bringing these kids here,” Pelosi told reporters.
Pelosi’s statement marks a sharp departure from the traditional Democratic rhetoric surrounding the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which typically foregoes mentioning parents and instead focuses on the young people shielded from deportation under the program as victims brought to the country illegally through no fault of their own.
Pelosi’s decision to explicitly defend Dreamers’ parents comes days after she was shouted down by a group of undocumented protestors, who derided her for negotiating with President Donald Trump to pass the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship to for illegal immigrants that meet certain employment, educational or military qualifications.
The protestors, some of which reportedly carried signs reading “Democrats are deporters,” issued loud calls for a clean amnesty bill for all illegal immigrants.
The California lawmaker said she would like to see more expansive protections for illegal immigrants, but maintained that Democrats should focus on the Trump administration’s recent DACA rollback. She indicated that Democrats are galvanizing around a bill that would expand protections for illegal immigrants beyond those exempted from deportation under DACA. The bill would grant citizenship to anyone who came to the U.S. under age 18, has pursued a high school diploma and has been in the country for more than four years.
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