Democrat House Leader Nancy Pelosi privately urging President Obama to Stop Deportations

NBC – TELEMUNDO
“NANCY PELOSI INTERVIEW”
INTERVIEW WITH NANCY PELOSI
CORRESPONDENT: LORI MONTENEGRO
PRODUCER: FERNANDO RAMIREZ

LORI MONTENEGRO:

00:05:38:00               Now with the more time that goes by with no immigration reform, the calls for some type of administrative relief will– will increase, especially calling in President Obama to– ex– use his executive powers and suspend deportations, for example– for the parents of the dreamers.  Do you think the president has that authority?

NANCY PELOSI:

00:05:59:00               Well, I don’t know whether he has the authority.  But I think that there is discretion in the law as to the impl– implementation, enforcement of– of– the legislation that is calling for these deportations.  And I myself– coming from San Francisco, representing– being part of California– we have seen deportations that were totally unjustified, you know?

 

00:06:23:00               Our view of the law is that it– if somebody is here without sufficient documentation, that is not reason for deportation.  If somebody has broken the law, committed a felony or something, that’s a different story.  And– when those people are apprehended, they are deported.  So– I don’t see any reason for these deportations.

 

00:06:43:00               And– there has been un– it hasn’t been a uniform– enforcement of the law.  So I think the d– prosecutorial discretion to say, “If your only violation is you overstayed or came in in a certain way, that’s no reason to split a family.”  And we have seen the personal stories.  And we presented them to the administration.  So I think– I’m hopeful that with the documentation that we are providing to counter what others may be saying about who’s being deported, that we will see action from the president.

LORI MONTENEGRO:

00:07:16:00               Will you ask– D.H.S., for example– to make sure that prosecutorial discretion in reality is being practiced.  Because, as you yourself have just described, there are a lot of people who are being deported, who do not have a criminal record.

NANCY PELOSI:

00:07:31:00               Exactly.

LORI MONTENEGRO:

00:07:32:00               So is D– do you feel D.H.S. is– maybe is just not really– putting that into practice?

NANCY PELOSI:

00:07:39:00               Well– we know what we see.  And that– you know, we say the plural of anecdote is not data.  They think they see a different set of data.  But our anecdotes are– are illustrative.  There– there are so many examples.  And for years, we have been after the administration not to h– to have this– disparity of discretion that is used.  It’s wrong.

 

00:08:03:00               I mean, I– I can give you– I– I appeared with these people in church myself, in public– and the rest.  They– they have– it breaks your heart to see what is happening.  It’s not the right thing.  It’s not who we are as Americans.  And if they need any more justification or documentation, we have been providing it.  We stand ready to continue to provide it.  We would frankly though like to move on and pass comprehensive immigration reform so that the problem is put to rest.  In the meantime, 1,100 people, on average, a day, it’s just wrong.

LORI MONTENEGRO:

00:08:35:00               I have one more question on immigration.  And I have some other questions I’d like to get to.  But in your mind, is there a set date in 2014 when this needs to be done, if it really is going to come to pass?

NANCY PELOSI:

00:08:46:00               Well, it was only been the last few days that I– faced the reality that we weren’t going to have it in 2013.  Early in the week, I spoke to speaker, I said, “Isn’t there just some small bill you could bring to the floor that would signal that we’re ready to go to conference with the Senate to work out our differences?”  But he said, “Not before the first of the year.”  So I’m hoping that it will be early in the year.  I– I think it–

LORI MONTENEGRO:

00:09:09:00               For example, if it’s June and it hasn’t happened?

NANCY PELOSI:

00:09:12:00               Well, I– I think if it’s going to happen, it will happen before June.  And I think that, you know, this is one of those things.  We’re not going away.  You know, the– we– we had a beautiful ceremony on the steps of the Capitol yesterday with the fasters as they were ending their fast for families and a fast immigration bill– two interpretations of the word “fast.”

 

00:09:34:00               Many of us have– some of our members have joined the fast.  Many of us have visited them on a number of occasions, including the president of the United States.  And all of that focus on the issue it’s to say, “We’re not going away.  We need this.  And every day– that we don’t pass it– we lose something as to– who we are as a country.”

LORI MONTENEGRO:

00:09:52:00               Affordable Care Act– there are a lot of Democrats who– were very upset about the rollout and fear that– the bad publicity– some of the errors committed will affect them in their reelection beds.  Because some of them will be in tight– elections.  Do they have something to be concerned about?

NANCY PELOSI:

00:10:12:00               No, I think– I think that the rollout was unfortunate.  And as one who was important in terms of passing the legislation, the least we should have expected is that the technology would work.  It didn’t.  It’s some turbulence we are going through.  But I think that it’s ever improving.  And I feel very confident that in the next few months all– this– this is similar to what happened when the Republicans passed the– Medicare prescription drug bill.

 

00:10:38:00               For months, more than six months, they were getting bad headlines about its enforcement.  At that time, they said, “Well, that’s what happens when you have a new initiative.”  They’re not saying that now.  But– but– having said that, I think that– the election’s gonna be about jobs.  It’s gonna be about the economy.  It’s about– whether we have passed immigration.  Because that’s an economic issue.  It brings hundreds of millions of dollars– hundreds of billions of dollars to the Treasury.  It’s an economic issue to have– this– re– in– this revitalization of our economy by bringing people out of the shadows.

LORI MONTENEGRO:

00:11:13:00               So I must ask, though–

NANCY PELOSI:

00:11:14:00               So I don’t think that the–

LORI MONTENEGRO:

00:11:15:00               –do you think the Se–

NANCY PELOSI:

00:11:15:00               –Affordable Care Act’s gonna hurt in–

LORI MONTENEGRO:

00:11:16:00               Will Democrats take back the House or at least gain more seats?

NANCY PELOSI:

00:11:19:00               Well, we certainly will gain more seats.  And I– it’s hard to tell 11 months away about an election.  But we have the capability.  We are– fighting in– over 50 seats.  And we only need to win a thir– a third of those, 17, to take back the house.  I would say right now we’re very pleased with where we are.  We have great candidates.  And that’s important.  And we have– our resources are coming in very strongly.  Our grassroots mobilization is great.  We’re going to be fighting for a woman’s agenda, when women succeed, America succeeds.  That’s about women in the workplace.  Raise the minimum wage.  Helps men and women.  Raise the minimum wage, have pay equity, paid sick leave, so we have work– home balance and– and have affordable childcare.

LORI MONTENEGRO:

00:12:04:00               And I’d like to get to that.  But before that, we’re coming up on a very sad anniversary, which is the Sandy Hook.  No– gun control legislation.  And some in this nation have said that the real debate about gun control is it’s– that it’s a cultural war.  How do you respond to that?

NANCY PELOSI:

00:12:20:00               Well, the– I– I– I’m wearing a badge of– of honor that was just given to me by the– Mothers Demand Action group that I’ll be with over the weekend, too– all week we’ve had events– observing– the– sad– tragedy at Newtown and that the fam– these families have so much courage, so much strength to turn their grief into action to prevent something from happening to other children.

 

00:12:45:00               There’s no reason we shouldn’t have a vote on co– the Brady background check bill.  We have– over a hundred n– we have, I think, 187 cosponsors.  Three of them are Republicans.  And we know we have many more people who will vote for the bill to get us to the 218.  So– I know if the pres– if the– speaker would bring the bill to the floor and allow a vote, we could pass the background checks.  That will make the biggest difference of everything– is to have the background check.  So– members of the N.R.A., mem– Republican Party, as well as Democrats, as people don’t identify with any party support background checks.

LORI MONTENEGRO:

00:13:25:00               But do you believe this is– that this debate is really a culture war?  It’s–

NANCY PELOSI:

00:13:30:00               Well, not on background checks.  But on the whole gun thing, I mean, there are people in our country who’ve grown up hunting.  It’s– it’s about geography.  It’s about your culture.  And it’s not to make any judgment about– how people who– should have guns and– would have them.  It’s a question of guns g– falling into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.  And the background check is a way to deal with that.

 

00:13:53:00               So it’s respectful of the cultural differences and the constitutional rights that the court has upheld.  So it’s not– it’s not to say those of us who want a background check don’t appreciate the cultural aspects of this, no.  Even people who are members of the N.R.A. support the background check bill.

 

00:14:12:00               So we don’t see why the speaker doesn’t allow that vote to come to the floor.  So what do we do?  We take– (UNINTEL) we have to go out there and– and– and– honor the oath of office to protect and defend the American people.  Background check bill would do that.  We have to go out there and be true to who we are as a country, a nation of immigrants.  An immigration bill will do that.

 

00:14:32:00               We have to give confidence to our– economy.  We have to have some– jobs bills that– the Republicans have obstructed, but that in the past, like investing in infrastructure, have always had bipartisan support.  So we’re not looking for differentiation.  We’re looking for common ground for job creation to grow the economy, immigration bill to honor who we are and respect every person– protect and defend with the background check bill.

 

00:15:00:00               These and other items– could easily pass the Congress.  We just– we just need a decision from the speaker of the House.  People don’t understand the awesome power of the speaker, just to decide whether a bill will show up or not.  And there’s nothing we can do to affect that.  The American people, though, can weigh in.  And that’s making these issues too hot to handle.  The immigration advocates– whether from the immigration community or just– or advocates for America being as strong as we can be.  And that’s usually comes together– need to keep the pressure on.

LORI MONTENEGRO:

00:15:36:00               And finally, for years, you have worked on women’s issues.  This is so dear to your heart and very passionate.  And how would you say is the state of women in America today?  And what– what more do you think needs to be done in what you believe is economic equality?

NANCY PELOSI:

00:15:59:00               The– as– first woman speaker of the House, I believe I have a special responsibility.  But long before I became speaker, it was my– I felt my responsibility to increase the number of women in Congress so that we could lift up women’s issues, whether it was respect for women– in their determination of the size and timing of their family and their related health issues.  Now we have our When Women Succeed America Succeeds agenda about women in the workplace.

 

00:16:26:00               The issue of childcare is something that will unleash– women having access to affordable quality childcare will unleash the power of women.  And– and this agenda– equal pay for equal work.  A woman standing side by side or desk by desk to a man, same education, same experience, same job responsibilities, basically works the first three months of the year for free.

 

00:16:48:00               Because overall, women make 77% of what a man makes for the same job and same responsibilities.  So that’s not right.  Raising the minimum wage.  Nearly two thirds of the people getting minimum wage are women.  But lifting the minimum wage helps men and women and helps families.  Sick leave, paid sick leave.  How can it be in the greatest country that ever existed in the history of the world that– if a child is sick they have to go to school, ’cause mom can’t lose the day of work?  And if she loses too many days of work, she’ll lose her job?

 

00:17:19:00               And that helps men, too.  And p– childcare, of course, helps all families, men and women.  I do believe the following.  That we need many more women in opin– in– leadership roles.  And– if we reduce the role– role of money in politics and increase the level of civility in the political debate, we’ll elect many more women to public office, many more minorities, many more young people.  That will be very wholesome.

 

00:17:45:00               And if we have childcare, it will unleash the power of women in– in– in another way.  So both of these things, both a– in the political side and on the private side and the economic side– nothing– I– I think all of it will invigorate our– our economy.  It will increase our rate of G.D.P. growth.  But it will be very important to strengthening our families, which are, of course, the core of who we are as a country.

LORI MONTENEGRO:

00:18:14:00               It sounds like you believe that if women were in charge here in Washington things would be a lot better, running at least smoother?

MALE VOICE:

00:18:20:00               Well, when I was speaker, we got a job done, as I say, both with a Republican president and with a Democratic president.  But– r– regardless of party, I do think women have an intuitive sense of– of urgency about certain issues, what our priorities should be, are consensus builders.  We don’t come in and say, “My way or the highway.”  We’re consensus builders.

 

00:18:40:00               And– are respectful of other people’s views.  And– and– I always say we use a loom to weave the strongest possible fabric– of– of policy to make the lives of the American people better.  And– and– get back to the subject of immigration.  We are a nation of immigrants.  The constant reinv– igoration (?) of America, of newcomers to our country, with their hopes, their determination, their optimism for a better future for their families.

 

00:19:08:00               Well, these are– American attitudes.  So every immigrant who comes makes America more American.  And we have to respect that.  President Bush did.  President George W. Bush, he was great on immigration.  And he has also said, “Let’s be respectful of the people that we’re talking about when we have this debate– on policy.”

LORI MONTENEGRO:

00:19:28:00               Leader Pelosi, it’s been a pleasure speaking to you th– today.

NANCY PELOSI:

00:19:31:00               My pleasure.  Thank you–

LORI MONTENEGRO:

00:19:31:00               Thank you so very much–

NANCY PELOSI:

00:19:32:00               –so much.  Merry Christmas to you.

LORI MONTENEGRO:

00:19:32:00               –for greeting us here.  Merry Christmas to you.

NANCY PELOSI:

00:19:34:00               Happy holidays.

LORI MONTENEGRO:

00:19:34:00               Feliz Navidad.

NANCY PELOSI:

00:19:35:00               Feliz Navidad.  Almost makes me want to sing.  (LAUGH)

VARIOUS:

00:19:39:00               Thank you.  Thank you so much.  It’s been a pleasure.

* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *

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