Immigration Activists Shout Down Nancy Pelosi Over Trump Dreamer Deal

They repeatedly called the minority leader a “liar.”

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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Immigration activists shouted down Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) during a tense press conference in San Francisco on Monday, protesting a tentative agreement with President Trump to pass a law that extends protections for young immigrants known as Dreamers.

In addition to ensuring recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program can stay in the country, Trump’s apparent agreement to work with Democrats reportedly includes tougher border security measures, something immigration advocates say is a non-starter. No concrete details have yet been released about the deal-in-the-works, and the president himself has offered contradictory statements on whether an agreement has been reached at all.

“We undocumented youth will not be a bargaining chip for Trump’s xenophobic agenda,” the protesters shouted at Monday’s press conference. They repeatedly called the minority leader a “liar.”

Half an hour after the press conference started, Pelosi left. “Since you don’t want to listen, we’ll have to just go,” she said.

The protest comes after Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced the agreement last week. Before activists interrupted her, Pelosi said any deal entered into by the Democrats should include an avenue for immigrants brought to the U.S. before turning 16 to stay permanently, ideally through a path to citizenship. The Trump administration has said it’s not willing to do that for the estimated 1.1 million Dreamers who might be eligible. Pelosi was joined by Barbara Lee and Jared Huffman, other representatives from California, in calling for the passage of the Dream Act.

But activists say tougher border security measures amount to a crackdown on immigrants already in the U.S. “It is unconscionable that we would accept any deal that essentially trades our safety for that of the safety of our family members and neighbors,” Itzel Guillen, who works with the Southern Border Communities Coalition, said in a statement. “Our communities are already hyper-militarized, with unaccountable border agents patrolling our communities and asking people for their papers at any time and for any reason.”

Other immigration activists, such as Daniel Altschuler with a group called Make the Road New York, are saying Democrats are trading away far too much by already conceding to upping border security.

You can watch the full video of the protest below:

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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