UNAC/UHCP President Denise Duncan, RN, issued the following statement on the record-setting speech of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in defense of the deferred action program for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.
“On Wednesday, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi set a record for the longest speech in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives, when she spoke for hours about the plight of the so-called “Dreamers” called on fellow elected officials to include protections for the group in the budget deal that was passed early this morning.
“House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who has represented her San Francisco-area district for thirty years, spoke for eight hours about the budget bill’s lack of a replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (D.A.C.A.) program that will cease to exist on March 5. The budget deal will fund the government for six weeks while a long-term funding package is negotiated and passed, thereby leaving the resolution of the deferred action program to the whims of the Republican-led U.S. House and Senate.
“Representative Pelosi took issue with the budget deal’s lack of protections for Dreamers. While she spoke, she read letters from those who had been able to attend school and legally work due to the deferred action program.
“This delay in the fix for D.A.C.A. penalizes children who had no part in the decision to come to the United States. These children are the best of the nation’s immigrants and should be protected from immigration enforcement and provided a path to citizenship. The last year has shown us that Republicans in Congress will not honor promises to pass legislation. This makes Minority Leader Pelosi’s eight-hour speech nearly the only way to bring attention to this issue.
“Make no mistake: legislation for D.A.C.A. recipients will not happen under House Speaker Paul Ryan’s watch. If elected leaders think forcing Dreamers back into the shadows is an acceptable solution to undocumented childhood arrivals, it’s time for America to find new representatives and senators who have basic compassion and empathy.”
United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) represents over 30,000 registered nurses and other health care professionals, including optometrists; pharmacists; physical, occupational and speech therapists; case managers; nurse midwives; social workers; clinical lab scientists; physician assistants and nurse practitioners. UNAC/UHCP is affiliated with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO.