Reid Remarks On Republicans Playing Games Over Border Humanitarian Crisis

“2,400 miles away from Las Vegas, here in Washington, D.C., some Senate Republicans are playing a high-stakes game of their own with a humanitarian crisis. But instead of poker chips, they’re using children.”

 

“Last night the junior Senator from Texas upped the ante, announcing that any legislation to address the humanitarian crisis in the Rio Grande Valley must also include a termination of President Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Or in other words, before Republicans help our Border Patrol agents address this humanitarian crisis, they want President Obama to deport the DREAMers who are already living here.”

 

“The Deferred Action plan is a positive step forward, and we should not go back. Especially not as a ransom for helping our Border Patrol care for desperate children.”

 

Washington, DC – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding Republicans’ out of touch political stance on the humanitarian crisis on the border. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

Over the past two weeks, poker players have flocked to Las Vegas for the annual World Series of Poker’s, the most prestigious high-stakes tournament in the world. 2,400 miles away from Las Vegas, here in Washington, D.C., some Senate Republicans are playing a high-stakes game of their own with a humanitarian crisis. But instead of poker chips, they’re using children.

Last night the junior Senator from Texas upped the ante, announcing that any legislation to address the humanitarian crisis in the Rio Grande Valley must also include a termination of President Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Or in other words, before Republicans help our Border Patrol agents address this humanitarian crisis, they want President Obama to deport the DREAMers who are already living here. These are children, but instead of considering a thoughtful, compassionate solution to a real-life crisis, radical Republicans would rather hold these kids ransom. And so, once again, we see that there are no substantive solutions being offered by today’s Republican Party.

President Obama’s Deferred Action plan, which Republicans so desperately want to get rid of, is about keeping families here in America together. It grants immigration officials discretion in considering the cases of children who have lived most of their lives as Americans, even though they were brought here illegally. Let me give just one example of a young woman from Las Vegas. Her name is Astrid Silva.

Astrid came to the United States as a girl in a boat across the Rio Grande River. She was with her mother, and all she had was her baptism cross and a doll. She has lived here all her life. Astrid knows no other country than the United States of America. And now, because of President Obama’s Deferred Action program, Astrid can stay with her family. But the junior Senator from Texas wants to send her back to a place she doesn’t know. He wants to send Astrid back to Mexico. Astrid is an American. It would be cruel and unusual to send her back to a country she doesn’t know, but that is what the junior Senator from Texas wants done.

The Deferred Action plan is a positive step forward, and we should not go back. Especially not as a ransom for helping our Border Patrol care for desperate children. I would hope my friend, the Republican Leader, can rein in these extreme elements of his caucus so we can achieve a real solution, one worthy of the ideals upon which this nation was founded.

These children are real – real human beings. They should not be used as pawns in Republicans’ high-stakes game of chicken with President Obama.