US politician Nancy Pelosi delivered an eight-hour ‘filibuster’ to call for a vote on protecting ‘Dreamer’ immigrants facing the threat of deportation.
Without taking a break and wearing four-inch heels throughout her speech, the 77-year-old Democrat quoted from the Bible and Pope Francis during her record-long address in the House of Representatives.
She spent much of her talk reading letters from Dreamers – undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children – whose protection from deportation is set to expire next month.
They were previously protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) scheme, which is being ended by President Donald Trump.
Historians confirmed Ms Pelosi had carried out the longest continuous speech in the chamber – surpassing the previous record of five hours and 15 minutes in 1909.
Her press team described it as filibustering, although it did not technically obstruct specific legislation being passed.
The House Democratic leader started speaking at around 10am and completed her speech at 6.11pm to a standing ovation from around 50 Democrats left in the chamber.
At around the sixth hour of her speech, Ms Pelosi said: You see, these people are being deported. We can do something today to at least make whole the children.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, she added: We achieved the recognition of what the Dreamers mean to America. They are a reflection of all the immigrants that have come before.
In the US Senate, where long speeches are more common, the late South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond holds the record after delivering a speech lasting 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
Ms Pelosi’s speech came as senate leaders agreed a two-year budget deal which they hope will avoid another government shutdown.
The latest deal still has to pass the House, however, and many Democrats are expected to oppose it as it does not contain specific protections for Dreamers.