In an unaired interview with Spanish-language network Telemundo, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that illegal immigrants who are “here without sufficient documentation”–including those who have overstayed their visas–should not be deported. She also said she was “hopeful” that President Barack Obama would enact a deferred action program for more illegal immigrants, such as parents of so-called “DREAMers.”
According to a transcript of the interview, Pelosi said, “Our view of the law is that… if somebody is here without sufficient documentation, that is not reason for deportation,” before stating that it is a “different story” if someone has broken another law or committed a felony. “So- I don’t see any reason for these deportations.”
When asked by interviewer Lori Montenegro if she felt Obama had the authority to suspend deportations for the parents of “DREAMers,” Pelosi said though she did not know whether Obama had that authority, she felt there needed to be discretion in how immigration laws are enforced. In previous comments on the matter, Obama has claimed he does not have the legal authority to do so, but amnesty advocates have pressured–and even heckled–him to enact more executive actions to prevent deportations.
Concerning those who have overstayed their visas, Pelosi stated that these individuals should not be deported. “If your only violation is you overstayed or came in in a certain way, that’s no reason to split a family,” she said, expressing hope that “we will see action from the president.”
Pelosi added that it is “just wrong” that 1,100 people are deported on average every day. She mentioned that she, “coming from San Francisco,” had seen in California what she believed were “deportations that were totally unjustified.”
California Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill that made California a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants who have not committed “serious crimes.” The bill originated in Pelosi’s home city of San Francisco.