House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) spoke for more than eight hours on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, using her prerogative as a party leader to mount a filibuster to draw attention to the cause of illegal aliens.
The House, unlike the Senate, does not actually have a filibuster rule that allows members to speak as long as they want. Only the Speaker of the House and the party leaders can hold the floor indefinitely.
Pelosi said she was taking a stand to draw attention to the plight of the so-called “Dreamers,” who are illegal aliens brought into the country as minors.
During her remarks, she hailed the “Dreamers,” whom she said had arrived in the country illegally through no fault of their own.
She then went on to thank the parents of the “Dreamers” — i.e. those who deliberately broke the law.
“I say to their parents: Thank you for bringing these Dreamers to America. We’re in your debt for the courage it took, for you to take the risk, physically, politically, in every way, to do so,” she said.
Democrats actually failed to pass any legislation on immigration when Pelosi was Speaker, though her party controlled both Capitol Hill and the White House from 2009 to 2011.
President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, using — or abusing — his executive powers of prosecutorial discretion on a massive scale to shield some 700,000 applicants from deportation.
Pelosi declared Wednesday that she would speak until Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) promised a vote on legislation to protect the “Dreamers” — something he has already promised to do, at least with regard to Republican legislation on the issue.
Just last month, President Donald Trump offered a deal that included a “path to citizenship” for all of the estimated 1.8 million “Dreamers,” including those who did not register for DACA. But Democrats rejected that deal over Trump’s demand for a border wall, plus an end to chain migration and the diversity visa lottery.