Arrests followed the mass demonstrations that kicked off after the top Senate Democrat celebrated a spending deal with Mitch McConnell
As Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) proudly announced on Wednesday that he struck a deal with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to grant President Donald Trump’s wish for a massive increase in military spending while doing nothing for Dreamers, undocumented immigrants and their allies poured into the Senate building demanding that Democrats fight for a clean DACA fix.
“The scared politicians are those who cave in to the anti-immigrant president and his submissive Republicans who control Congress and are determined to block the DREAM Act.”
—Ben Monterroso, Mi Familia Vota
While McConnell and Schumer touted their two-year spending agreement—which hikes the Pentagon budget by $160 billion—as a remarkable example of bipartisan “compromise,” immigrant rights activists said the deal is no victory at all and vowed to primary Democrats who don’t “have the spine to stand up for undocumented families.”
Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota, slammed Schumer and McConnell in a statement on Wednesday for agreeing “to an open floor debate and amendment process on immigration” without any “guarantee that a final Dreamer bill can be passed or that the House will even consider it.”
“This is a big decision day for Congress; defining whether members will be heroes or scared politicians,” Monterroso added. “The heroes will be those who stand up for what is right and keep their commitments to Dreamers by demanding a vote on the DREAM Act as part of the budget deal. The scared politicians are those who cave in to the anti-immigrant president and his submissive Republicans who control Congress.”
Dreamers echoed this sentiment from inside the Senate building on Wednesday, chanting: “What do we want? DREAM Act! When do we want it? Now!”
— Hooman (@persiancowboy) February 7, 2018
HAPPENING NOW! We’re taking over the Senate demanding a #DreamActNow. Whether they arrest us or not, we will be back today AND tomorrow!
☎️ CALL CONGRESS NOW: 478-488-8059 pic.twitter.com/3llNeEkYGj
— United We Dream (#DreamActNow: 478-488-8059) (@UNITEDWEDREAM) February 7, 2018
Breaking with her Senate colleague on Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said during a marathon floor speech—which as of this writing is still ongoing—that she would oppose any budget deal that doesn’t include a strong commitment from McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to bring a clean DACA bill up for a vote.
Schumer, for his part, expressed “hope” that Republican leaders will keep their word and promptly hold a DACA vote.
As Schumer and McConnell delivered their celebratory speeches on Wednesday, Dreamers and activists marched outside the capitol building asking, “Will Democrats fail Dreamers again?”
— New York Immigration Coalition (@thenyic) February 7, 2018
It’s an exiting day here at the Capitol, including a day of action to demand that Congress pass a clean #DreamActNow. Dreamers are our friends, family, colleagues, and community members, and YWCA stands with them. #HereToStay pic.twitter.com/cgdLLaB1Ok
— YWCA USA (@YWCAUSA) February 7, 2018