tv U.S. Senate Sen. Merkley on Dreamers Immigration Policy CSPAN February 14, 2018 10:03pm-10:14pm EST
history looks back on on positive legislation. let us go forward, let us pass bthe dreamers bill, let us deal with border security and then in the near future let us deal with comprehensive immigration reform. thank you and i yield the floor. >> thank you, mr. president. prosecution begins with three very simple,it very powerful words. we, the people. it's the mission statement for our nation, for our constitution, a vision in which decisions are made of, by and for the people, not for the privileged and not for the powerful. and who wrote those words? will it happen to be a group of white, wealthy, landowners and the powerful and the privileged. they did not choose to build a
nation that would make laws for their benefit but laws that were designed to encourage the entire populace to price they were descended from immigrants and in our country unless you are a 100% native american and the less you have just arrived as a new immigrant you are descended from immigrants yourself and it is part of the fabric of our nation is what makes us a powerful combination of talents and abilities from around the world and now george washington himself once said america is open to receive, not only the opulent and the respected stranger but the oppressed and disputed of all nations and
religions. on another occasion he wrote to a friend that i had always hoped this land might become a safe and agreeable asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind through whatever nation they mighthtg. belong. and true to washington's wishes and to his vision that is the land is that land of opportunity and that land that welcomes others to our shores and get them the chance to pursue the vision of opportunity to help participate in the making of our great nation and to do so each generation brings together the varietyet of languages and cultures and backgrounds and that is us. america. that is why a century after our nation's founding the french gave to the united states the statue of liberty and the statue of liberty that has stood as a
beacon of hope while getting those from other lands and inscribed at the foundation pedestal of that statue are these words. give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to pay three, the wretched refuse of your team ensures send me the homeless, the tempest tossed to me and i lift my lamps besides the gordon door and those for the welcoming words to hundreds of thousands arriving here in the united states. as i speak at this moment 800,000 young men and women right here in america are yearning to breathe free as full participants in the nation they have grown up in in these rr
dreamers. it dreamers like this group of oregonians who visited my office in december came to this country as very young children and who went to elementary school here in high school here and who are our neighbors, our community members and gone on to college taken jobs in ourg contributing to every possible way to our community. studying in our schools, practicingpr in working in our industries. they are now young adults striving to support their families and build the strength of this economy and build a future for themselves and they are paramedics saving lives and they stand in organ and the street corner and the ground there's a pretty good chance you'll see a dreamer. you may not know it but they are full members of our community
and they have overcome a lot of obstacles which creates a grid of character that also helps build the future of our nation just as it did for those of our forefathers and foremothers who arrived a generation or two or 310 generations ago. now, we provide a program, the daca program that struck a deal and said you give us all your information and we will make sure that you are legally protected and president trump has broken a promise and broken that deal and that commitment made by our executive branch through these dreamers. they put them in a terrible spot of uncertainty and stress and limbo. now it is time to set it right. it could be time to set the right by the president in the
moment and the court several of them have weighed in and the president has acted unconstitutionally in attacking our young immigrants and are dreamers. let's not wait for the court to remedy this and let's take care of it ourselves in this chamber in the senate chamber. after months and months of inaction after broken promises by president trump let's finally protect these men and women who do so much to embody the american spirit. as i move forward in this debate we must look again to what our founding fathers intended for the nation they created and ensure that they told the door they put emma lazarus wrote in her poem remains an open door, open to all those who dream to become an american and contribute to the station and we
must remain in present washington's words -- open to receive, not only the opulent and respected, but the oppressed and you did of all nations. looking at the plant president trump has put forward similar plans offered in this chamber there is a real interest in slamming the door shut by those who have already arrived as immigrants and fled persecution who have pursued freedom and pursued opportunity, who escaped from famine to come in and slammed the door on everyone else. it is not very american to do that. it is not a strength to undermine the future success of our economy by draining away the extraordinary talents of our dreamer community.
president johnson made the point and he said the land florist because it was fed from some resources because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and people. president ronald reagan made the point and he said more than any other country our strength comes from our own immigrant heritage and our capacity to welcome those from other lands. the founding president of our country, a respected democratic president of our country, a respected republican president of our country saying the same thing that the strength of our country at the contributions have been made to our attention by ouran immigrants so the founding fathers wrote those
words, that mission statement, that we'd be a nation of, by and for the people and not one to make laws buy in for the powerful and the privileged. that is the vision we need to continue to hold onto and hold on is the strength of the nation comes fromhe weaving together te many cultural threads of people of the united states of america. let's get this dream act to the floor. there is a bipartisan understanding around storing legal status and there's a bipartisan foundation for border security. it is not given to those far right, breitbart voices that are so out of sync with the traditions and strength and culture and vision of our nati
nation. let's store that legal status for our dreamers and enhance our border security and do the work that this chamber should have done long ago. thank you, mr. president. >> mr. president, i am pleased to come and talk today. this is the week where we had all anticipated a return to the senate where ideas are widely debated and i was standing by the majority leader last week when he was talking about this and said we will let a thousand flowers bloom and didn't sound like something that senator mcconnell would normally use as a reference but he did and i am thinking that would be a good thing to see a thousand different ideas widely debated on the senate floor. so far, this week, there has not been any debate because we cannot seem to agree on who votes on what first.