June 05, 2019

Congressman Neguse Gives Impassioned Response to Republicans Efforts to Kill the Dream Act

Washington D.C.— Today, Congressman Neguse spoke on the House floor in support of the Dream and Promise Act of 2019, legislation to provide permanent protections for DACA recipients, TPS holders and DED recipients. Neguse was chosen to represent the Democratic Caucus to respond to Republican efforts to sideline the bill and vote down the final passage. The Dream and Promise Act of 2019 passed the House following Neguse’s floor remarks with 237 votes.

View video of his remarks on the floor here.

Full remarks as delivered are below: 

“Mr. Speaker, I rise to oppose the Motion to Recommit.”

“Mr. Speaker, I may be new to Washington, but apparently, I have learned something that the other side of the aisle has not, which is how to read a bill. Because if you go to page 12, line 21 of this bill you will learn that gang members are not eligible under H.R. 6."

“Mr. Speaker, if you don’t believe me, I will quote the bill: “that the applicant knowingly, willfully and voluntarily participate in offenses committed by a criminal street gang with the intent to promote or further the commission of such offenses may be denied by the Secretary of the Homeland Security.”

“Spare me, spare me. “

“Mr. Speaker, I would ask my colleagues to spare me this false outrage, because if this really were about gang violence, my colleagues have continuously had opportunities to pass legislation that would curb that threat.”

“If this were about gun violence and gang violence, where were my republican colleagues last year when Congressman Connolly introduced HR 5960, a bill actually called “Preventing Gang Violence Act of 2018”? A bill that they killed in Committee.”

“If my colleagues across the aisle truly wanted to combat gang violence, why did they refuse to let HR 1297 the Youth PROMISE Act, come out of committee when it was introduced in the 114th Congress by Congressman Scott? At the end of the day, there is no question that no one is interested in allowing gang members to benefit from the Dream and Promise Act and that is why this bill addresses this exact issue.”

“At the end of the day the Secretary has the ability to reject any applicant if they have participated in gang activity, even if they have not been convicted of a crime. 

"Mr. Speaker, what we have lost in the debate today, in my view, is what this bill is all about at its core.”

“I rise today not just as a member of this body, not just as a proud America, but as the son of immigrants, as the son of African refugees. Who came to the United States over 35 years ago. They became naturalized citizens and never forgot nor took for granted the freedom and the opportunities the United States gave them and their children. That I am able to stand in this Chamber with all of you today is proof that the American Dream is real, and I want it to be attainable for generations to come.”

“That is why we must pass H.R. 6 today.”

“Right now, right now, right now there are young people all across our country who know no other home but the United States. These kids are dedicated and willing to put in the hard work to earn a college education, they are excelling in their careers, they are contributing to our communities in countless ways every day.”

“We cannot allow these young people to continue to live in fear, to be at risk every single day of being ripped away from their lives and losing everything that they know have.”

“In America, immigrants are integral parts of each of our communities and of our economy. They are our friends, they are our neighbors, they are our co-workers. And fighting each and every day, just as we are to live up to the American ideals that our country was founded on.”

“Mr. Speaker, I have often heard my colleagues on the other side of the aisle offer quotes in this chamber, in my limited time here.”

“Well let me give you a quote.”

“Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer a quote, and the quote is as follow.”

“It is bold men and women, yearning for freedom and opportunity, who leave their homelands and come to a new country to start their lives over. They believe in the American dream. And over and over, they make it come true for themselves, for their children, and for others. They give more than they receive. They labor and succeed. And often they are entrepreneurs. But their greatest contribution is more than economic, because they understand in a special way how glorious it is to be an American.”

“That quote, those are not my words. Those are the words of President Ronald Reagan. They were delivered by President Ronald Reagan in 1980, the same year that my parents came to the United States.”

“Let’s pass H.R. 6 today and lets treat every person in our country, who has struggled and is just as American as you and I are, with the respect they deserve.”

“Let’s vote no on this motion to recommit, and let’s pass H.R. 6 today.”