During a book signing over the weekend, three undocumented immigrants confronted and were brushed off by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) over his position on immigration, specifically on his vote against an executive program that allows some immigrants to temporarily stay in the country without deportation fears. That program known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program allows certain undocumented immigrants to be given temporary work authorization and legal presence in the country.
In the video provided by the advocacy group United We DREAM, at least three so-called DREAMers, the colloquial term for undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, could be seen asking Ryan to clarify his stance on immigration. Ryan was at the bookstore signing copies of his book The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea. When a DREAMer brother and sister team asked, “Why do you want to deport me and my sister?” Ryan insisted to the both of them, “Thanks for coming. Read the position in my book. You should read the position in my book.” When prompted with the same question by another DREAMer, Ryan said, “I’m not going to answer your question at this time.” Each time, staff members and an uniformed officer came to escort the advocates away.
Ryan’s position in his book appears somewhat conflicted, but so has his stance over the past year. According to a MSNBC review of his book, Ryan touted legislation that would prevent the deportation of young undocumented immigrants (presumably like the ones who confronted him at the book signing), but he also cited concerns with the Constitution and the rule of law for Obama using his executive powers to create the DACA program.
Earlier this year, Ryan supported a set of immigration reform principles unveiled by House GOP, but then backed away from his enthusiasm after he was criticized. Around the same time, he opposed going to “conference” on the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, even though last year he stumped on immigration with Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) (a huge immigration reform advocate) to support the passage of bipartisan immigration reform legislation in the House.
This is not the first time during the August recess that DREAMer activists have confronted politicians over their vote to defund the DACA program. Activists have also confronted Reps. Steve King (R-IA), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Steve Pearce (R-NM).