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Harris at California DREAM Act Rally: This is About Love of Country

CONTACT: Brenda Gonzalez, State Press Secretary, Senator Kamala D. Harris

IRVINE - Today, U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris, a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, rallied in support of the DREAM Act at the University of California, Irvine. At the rally with students, clergy and business leaders, Harris discussed her efforts to protect Dreamers, highlighted the Administration’s unwillingness to extend the DACA renewal deadline, and encouraged Congress to pass the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act, a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Harris, would ensure a path to citizenship for children brought to the United States by their parents.

Harris speaking at the DREAM Act rally at UC Irvine

“I believe we need to pass a clean DREAM Act,” Harris said. “We have got to create a path for citizenship for these young people. They gave so much information about themselves, they cleared vetting. We’re talking about a population of young people who are in college, who are serving in our military, who are working in Fortune 100 companies. We need to keep our promise to them. It’s just the right thing to do.”

Harris was also joined at the rally by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), the Korean Resource Center (KRC), and Dreamers currently attending the University of California, Irvine.

Key excerpts from Harris’ remarks:

  • [T]he young people who we are talking about right now are being vilified. Right now, [they] are terrified. Terrified. And right now, there are forces that are trying to divide us as a nation. There are forces that are being fueled by hate. Being fueled by this idea that we should point at each other and blame each other. And we are not going to let them divide us.
  • Part of why I’m here today is to say stand proud. Don’t you let anybody make you believe you are doing anything other than fighting for the best of who we are as a country. Stand with your chin up, stand with your shoulders back. You march. You shout. You fight for the best of who we are as a country. And when you do it, own it. This is about love of country. If you love our country, you will fight for its ideals.
  • [They] try to set these young people up for failure. But you know what, people like the folks here at UC Irvine, people like the Dream Resource Center, gathered together and said, we will lift up our young people. We will lift them up.  We will not let them fall. They may be trying to set us up for failure, but we will not fail. That’s what has been happening on this campus every day. We will not fail. We will lift them up. They want to create obstacles, they think we’re going to stumble. No we’re not.

Full remarks as delivered:
 
Back in Orange County– it’s good to be back. And it’s good to be back at UC Irvine. It’s good to be back. So here’s the thing, many of you know my background, my parents met when they were students at UC Berkeley in the 60s fighting for civil rights. Had they not been as active as they were in fighting for the ideals of our country, and fighting for what we know we are and can be, I wouldn’t be standing here today. So, when I look out at you, these students at the University of California, I see the future, I see the beginning of the next great movement that will always be about fighting for the ideals of our country. And you who are protesting are on the wrong side of history.

So, what this is about is a movement. And let’s all be clear; the young people who we are talking about right now are being vilified. Right now, are terrified. Terrified. And right now, there are forces that are trying to divide us as a nation. There are forces that are being fueled by hate. Being fueled by this idea that we should point at each other and blame each other. And we are not going to let them divide us. We are not going to let them divide us. This is a fight that is about justice. This is a fight that is about equality. This is about a fight for the future of this country, believing in the values upon which this country was founded. We believe those principles that were behind the writing of the Constitution of the United States. We believe in those values and principles that were behind the Declaration of Independence. We believe that we were all created equal and should be treated that way. These are our beliefs, and it is fueled by these beliefs that we stand here in support of our DACA students and young people. It is fueled by every value and principle that was the basis for the founding of these beautiful United States. It is fueled with that belief that we stand here and fight for a clean Dream Act.

And so, here’s the thing guys. Stand proud. Part of why I’m here today is to say stand proud. Don’t you let anybody make you believe you are doing anything other than fighting for the best of who we are as a country. Stand with your chin up, stand with your shoulders back. You march. You shout. You fight for the best of who we are as a country. And when you do it, own it. This is about love of country. If you love our country, you will fight for its ideals.

And so, let’s also look at where we are. The path right now is rocky. It is difficult. It is hard. We are witnessing things that we can only describe as awful and wrong, and mean-spirited. But that’s ok, because we keep getting out of bed every day. Because we know this is about doing the right thing. We know this is about all the young people, who were brought here some before they could walk or talk. This is about understanding that when it comes to DACA, they filled out the forms, they gave information about who they are, and the United States government promised, promised, that if you give us this information that is about your personal life and background and your family, we promise that we would not share that information with ICE. And what’s happening right now? I daresay we may not be keeping our promise. And that is wrong.

I sit on many committees in the United States Senate, including the Homeland Security Committee. And I asked each one of the people that has been appointed to run the Department of Homeland Security, will you keep your promise to these young people and not share your information with ICE? And they wouldn’t. They would not commit. They would not commit.

The point that we’ve been making there and here is that, you know what, we need to lead by example. Keep your word. Keep your promise. Don’t break your promise to these young people. And then I said in a hearing, and the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security had the gall to say they are being compassionate. Being compassionate? You give these young people one month only to renew DACA status. They have to submit forms, pay $495. Well let’s think about what that means. $495 is a whole lot of money. Especially when you base that against the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour. You know, that equals about two weeks of work to come up with $495. With only a month’s notice. Try to set these young people up for failure. But you know what, people like the folks here at UC Irvine, people like the Dream Resource Center, gathered together and said, we will lift up our young people. We will lift them up.  We will not let them fall. They may be trying to set us up for failure, but we will not fail. That’s what has been happening on this campus every day. We will not fail. We will lift them up. They want to create obstacles, they think we’re going to stumble. No we’re not. We’re going to walk with our chin up and our shoulders back and we’re going to be proud. That’s what you can say here at UC Irvine.

And so, the bottom line is this, guys. Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep doing what you’re doing, because you are providing such inspiration to so many people. And we’re watching you. All the great movements have come from students. All the great movements have come from students. And we are watching you, and you are inspiring us. You are giving people courage that may not have courage, people like some of those folks in Washington DC. And you are putting your feet on the pavement, you are lifting up your voices and in that way, you are lifting up so many voices, people who cannot be here right now but need you to stay energetic and stay in the kind of energy that you have knowing we will see this through, we are going to see this through. We will get beyond this moment in time. We will get to the right place. It’s just a matter of time. So, keep fighting, keep marching, keep shouting. Si se puede, si se puede.

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