House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was forced to retreat from a press conference in San Francisco on Monday after dozens of protesters interrupted the congresswoman to demand robust and immediate action to protect undocumented immigrants.
Standing alongside Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA13) and Jarred Huffman (D-CA2), as well as community activists and undocumented young people, Pelosi planned to call for the passage of the DREAM Act. However, shortly after the minority leader began speaking, a group of about a dozen or more protesters, who introduced themselves as “immigrant youth, undocumented and unafraid,” approached Pelosi on stage and commandeered the event.
“We, undocumented youth, demand a clean bill that protects immigrant youth without hurting their families,” the group chanted, urging Pelosi not to “sell out our community” with a subpar legislative fix. In addition to recently announcing an end to the protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program participants, President Trump in June canceled a similar program which afforded safeguards for DACA recipients’ parents.
As Pelosi attempted to regain control of her press conference, the protesters continued to chant, drowning out undocumented immigrant Donald Valasquez, one of the scheduled speakers at the event.
At one point, the protesters shouted, “You met with Trump and you call that resistance?” in reference to Pelosi’s ongoing—and to many, frustrating—maneuvering with the president on immigration.
Growing clearly agitated with the interruptions, Pelosi attempted to address the protesting youth directly, telling them, “It’s clear you don’t want any answers” as they continued to shout. Over the hot mic, she could then be heard telling those standing near her, “They don’t want the DREAM Act.”
As the scene eventually grew more chaotic, Pelosi eventually left the briefing entirely, which Casey Tolan, a former Fusion reporter, captured on video:
Pelosi had initially framed the press conference as an opportunity for unity in the face of the president’s agenda, saying that “following the Trump Administration’s reckless decision to end the DACA initiative, communities across the country have joined together to advocate for protections for patriotic and courageous Dreamers.”
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