House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) compared the "DREAMer" illegal immigrants to the Japanese-American citizens who were interned by the U.S. government in camps during World War II.
"And they came for me, and now they're coming for the DREAMers," she told a crowd of supporters for the proposed legislation that would provide legal status for illegal immigrants who were brought into the country when they were children.
Pelosi gave the speech before reporters in front of the Capitol Tuesday.
"It's an honor to be here with the DREAMers," she said, "the DREAMers, who are perpetuating, advancing the American dream wth their courage and their optimism and their inspiration, they make America more American."
The Democratic leader described an art exhibit that she had recently attended that was called, "And then they came for me."
"[I]t's about the internment of the Japanese-American patriots in our country who were interned into camps during World War 2 while their family members were fighting for freedom for America and for the world in World War II, they were in camps," she said.
"And they came for me," she said, repeating the name of the exhibit, "and now they're coming for the DREAMers."
"This is something," she added, "we owe these DREAMers for their patriotism, for their courage, their optimism to come forward. But it's about America too. The fight is for who we are as a country, too. They are the manifestation of that fight right now. But we cannot let them come for them."
"So while the president thinks that giving six months for Congress to act, we wanna do it sooner we wanna do it in six weeks," she explained, referring to President Trump's decision to end DACA, but allow six months for Congress to pass legislation.
"So thank you DREAMers for being stronger than anybody," she concluded, "for being stronger than anybody, and for actually taking some risks for your families to keep America a country we take pride in being. Thank you for your patriotism."
Pelosi reiterated her comments in a tweet from her official social media account:
We owe DREAMers for their patriotism & courage to come forward. This is a fight about who we are as a country. We m… https://t.co/DPEI01PTu5— Nancy Pelosi (@Nancy Pelosi) 1505249169.0
What is DACA?
DACA is the controversial executive action former President Barack Obama ordered in 2012 after Congress failed to pass any legislation addressing the issue of illegal immigrants who were brought into the country as children. It stands for "Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals."
Is it different from the Dream Act?
Yes, but they are similar. The "DREAM Act" is proposed legislation that would give "DREAMers" legal status. Some Republicans are joining with Democrats to attempt to pass the legislation before the six-month deadline set by Trump for DACA to end.
Why does this matter to me?
Some argue that passing the DREAM Act would erode the rule of law in the U.S., and that rewarding illegal immigrants with amnesty is unfair to those who immigrate legally, and encourages more illegal crossings.