On Thursday, speaking to DACA recipients and Dreamers, Vice President Kamala Harris told them, “This your home. … We recognize you for the Americans that you are.” She invoked the claim that the issue of illegal immigration was about “self-determination,” adding that critics of the idea of welcoming illegal immigrants had a “limited ability to understand who you are.”
“The ‘dreamers’ are those who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents when they were children. Currently there are approximately 650,000 people in the U.S. being protected by DACA,” The Daily Mail pointed out.
Harris began by saying, “The topic of our conversation is the topic of who are we as a country and the future of our country. … Many arrived in their home country, the United States, before they could walk or talk. Many have been living recently in these years a life of uncertainty, even though this is the only home they have ever known. And they deserve a pathway to citizenship. They deserve a pathway to citizenship. And so I want to make clear to the Dreamers who are here and those who are watching from home: This is your home. This your home. And we see you and you are not alone.”
“The president and I, needless to say, and I hope many of you saw his townhall yesterday, we are unequivocal, that we recognize you for the Americans that you are,” Harris preached. “And that we recognize that you deserve all the rights that come with American citizenship. And so we will be tireless in fighting for a pathway to citizenship.”
Harris then referred to the ruling last week byfederal judge Andrew Hanen in Texas that deemed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) illegal and ordered the Biden administration to terminate giving new applications.
Harris continued, “Now we are having this conversation after the recent federal court ruling, but I want to make something clear: it will not immediately affect current DACA recipients. Also, it will put hundreds of thousands of young immigrants in jeopardy. … But our administration is taking action, so through the United States Department of Justice we have announced our intention to appeal the decision and that is in process. And the Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will propose a new rule concerning DACA, which is very important because it’s about the enforcement piece.”
Harris turned to the “American Dream and Promise Act,” which would “provide conditional permanent resident status for 10 years to a qualifying alien who entered the United States as a minor and (1) is deportable or inadmissible, (2) has deferred enforced departure (DED) status or temporary protected status (TPS), or (3) is the child of certain classes of nonimmigrants,” and the “Farm Workers Protection and Modernization Act,” which would permit people who have done agricultural labor or services without authorization to work in the U.S. to immediately apply for temporary legal status.
Harris stated, “We need Congress to finally create a pathway to citizenship. I spoke with Senator (Dick) Durbin last night about this very topic and we stand in solidarity on this issue, which is we will not give up in this fight.”
Then she got up on her soapbox, pontificating: “And let me make a final point: This is about what is morally right. This is a reflection of who we say we are as a country. And at it’s core I do believe this issue is also about self-determination.”
“Self-determination,” she repeated, wagging her finger in the air. “Because this is about saying we reward and should reward if we honor self-determination, the ambitions, the aspirations of our young people. This is about saying that we want to ensure that all people have the ability to determine their own future, in particular when they are living a life that is about contributing to their community.”
She mocked critics of the Biden administration’s perspective: “And also this is about saying that all people deserve to have the ability to make choices about their lives, unencumbered by other people’s limited ability to understand who you are.”
She concluded, “So these are the things that are at stake at this moment, and we will not give up and I certainly will not give up in making sure that we stand with our Dreamers and that we do everything we can to create a pathway toward citizenship.”