Nancy Pelosi's 8-Hour Speech In Defense Of DACA Set A Record For The House

"We have a moral responsibility to act now to protect Dreamers."

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi stood on the House floor for eight hours and seven minutes on Wednesday, delivering a nonstop speech defending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program protecting undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. President Trump chose to end the program last year, leaving thousands of "Dreamers" in danger of deportation.

Pelosi's speech, delivered in high heels with no breaks, set a record for the House, which the New York Times points out has no equivalent to the filibuster in the Senate. The longest speech before hers was reportedly delivered in 1909 by Rep. Champ Clark of Missouri, and lasted five hours and 15 minutes.

According to the Times, Pelosi was protesting a short-term funding bill to keep the government open due to a lack of protections for DACA recipients. Her speech took advantage of the "magic-minute rule" allowing the House speaker and minority leader to speak as long as they want. Pelosi asked House Speaker Paul Ryan to commit to bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers, similar to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's promise for open debate in the Senate.

According to the L.A. Times, Pelosi's staffers estimated that the minority leader read 300 stories about Dreamers, although it could have been more. Many praised Pelosi's commitment on social media, even using the hashtag #GoNancyGo, and retweeting an image of the heels she stood in for the entire speech.

"Every day, courageous, patriotic Dreamers lose their status. Every day, the American Dream slips further out of reach," Pelosi said at the start of her speech. "As members of Congress, we have a moral responsibility to act now to protect Dreamers, who are the pride of our nation, and are American in every way but on paper."

Pelosi pointed out that the majority of Americans support a path to citizenship or legal status for Dreamers, and called on Congress to pass the Dream Act. "There's nothing partisan or political about protecting Dreamers. If a Dream Act were brought to the floor, it would pass immediately, with strong bipartisan support," she said, adding, "Why are we here if not to protect the patriotic young people who are determined to contribute and to strengthen America?"

See the start of Pelosi's marathon speech below:

Cover image: Tinxi /


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