Nancy Pelosi Lauds Colorado DREAMer Marco Dorado in Epic House Speech

U.S. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi during her address about Colorado DREAMer Marco Dorado yesterday.
U.S. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi during her address about Colorado DREAMer Marco Dorado yesterday. CSPAN via Diana DeGette Twitter
Yesterday, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke for eight consecutive hours on the chamber's floor about the need for immigration reform, with a particular focus on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, an endangered program that grants temporary but renewable legal status to those born outside the United States and brought here without documentation as children. Among the DACA recipients she lauded was Denver's Marco Dorado, whose inspirational story was first told in this space circa March 2017. See the video below.

Since we published our post, Dorado, who (full disclosure) is a member of my extended family as the housemate of my daughter, has become an exemplar of DACA recipients in Colorado, which joined a lawsuit against President Donald Trump after he pulled the plug on the program last September — and set a March 5 deadline for Congress to act before protections expired.

That same month, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet made Dorado a focus of a Senate speech about DACA. Here's that clip:

Last October, Dorado traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby lawmakers about the need for a DACA fix, for reasons detailed in a post he shared on social media.

"Because the lives of 800,000 fellow Americans remain in peril if a permanent solution to DACA isn’t codified into law, with over 100 individuals losing DACA protections per day (a figure that will increase significantly come March 6)," Dorado wrote. "Because our lives and our desire to fulfill our American Dream shouldn’t be used against us in political football. Because an overwhelming and unprecedented majority of Americans, republicans and democrats, support the Dream Act. Congress must pass the Dream Act in 2018, and I ask you to join me in calling, emailing and reminding our respective members of Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act now."

Among those who met with Dorado last fall was Maryland Representative Steny Hoyer, the Democratic House whip. The following Facebook video captures the moment.

Dorado was back in Washington last month, joining a handful of fellow DREAMers also dedicated to pressing the cause. But Pelosi's remarks about Dorado came at an even more critical time for DACA.

Today, both houses of Congress are expected to vote on a budget bill that will fund the government for the next two years. However, major immigration proposals have been stripped from the package.

In a deal to end last month's brief government shutdown, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell has promised to allow DACA to be debated in the Senate. But even if senators pass such a measure, there's no guarantee the representatives in the House will follow suit.

If they don't, DREAMers such as Dorado will be left in legal limbo.

Against this backdrop, Colorado Representative Diana DeGette provided Pelosi with details about Dorado, as seen in the following tweet:

In the clip, Pelosi says, "Marco Dorado was born in Mexico and moved to Denver's Globeville neighborhood at the age of three. After attending Thornton High School as a student in the International Baccalaureate program, Marco attended the University of Colorado Boulder and graduated as student body president with a degree in finance. During his time at Colorado University, Marco received DACA, which has allowed him to begin his professional career while contributing back to his community. Currently, Marco is the program coordinator for the Latino Leadership Institute at the University of Denver."

After a pause, Pelosi adds: "Beautiful story — once again demonstrating not only a commitment to education, a commitment to become doctors, whatever, but leadership. Every one of these has leadership, whether it's leadership in the student government, leadership in community activities, leadership on the sports field. Leadership in every possible way. Extracurricular activities and the rest. And certainly Marco has demonstrated that trait typical of DREAMers."

The final word belongs to Dorado, who didn't know Pelosi would mention him and only found out after his social-media accounts went crazy.

Earlier this week, he posted a photo of himself as a child along with this caption: "I was 3 years old and it has been 22 and a half years. #cleandreamact."
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts