Pelosi describes GOP immigration bill as 'totally unworthy of America'
Posted June 15, 2018 3:28 p.m. EDT
(CNN) — House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi was hot with anger Friday over the status of the American immigration system and Republican proposals to change it.
Pelosi's contempt for President Donald Trump's immigration policy erupted outside the sun-baked Capitol after the President announced earlier in the morning that the Republican compromise bill brokered by House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Trumps' own advisers, was not tough enough for Trump to sign.
"The legislation ... is totally unworthy of America," Pelosi said, speaking on the sixth anniversary of the implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. She added, "It's a bad bill to begin with. So when the President says he's not going to sign it, it just goes to show you how low his standards are."
The new legislation to be taken up by the House next week was billed Thursday, by Ryan and other GOP lawmakers, as an opportunity to broker a deal to allow some DACA recipients legal status that could be used to eventually enable a path to citizenship, while providing tougher border security, and an end to Trump's fairly recent controversial policy that has led to the separation of incoming immigrant children from their parents at the border.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible on Thursday, specifically Romans 13 -- a call to obey the law, as a moral justification for detaining children and parents separately who enter the US without permission, a position White House press secretary Sarah Sanders defended.
Pelosi decried the administration's argument as hypocritical.
"For this administration to pose as people of faith, and pose as people who care about family and children, is a height of hypocrisy that knows no bounds," Pelosi said.
Pelosi cited former Republican presidents who she said were "right thinking" and "good thinking" such as Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, whom she said would not support such a policy.
She urged "Republicans who respect the dignity and worth of people" to "reject the un-American activities that's being put forth by the President of the United States, by the Republicans in Congress and by this attorney general."
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, a New Mexico Democrat, said the biblical defense "shows a dysfunctional, chaotic White House administration and Republican conference ... no policy defenses to their current action separating families and taking children away from their mothers and fathers at the border."
Grisham continued that "it just is another indication they cannot govern."
Pelosi said Trump's and his administration's actions on immigration are "all political."
"The President is throwing red meat to his base when he does that," she said. "He's using children, whether they're (DACA recipients) or whether they're little children at the border now, for a political purpose. It's shameful."
Rep. Yvette Clarke, a New York Democrat and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, warned the administration about using the Bible to defend their policy .
"The Bible centuries ago was used as a justification for the slavery of people of African descent in this nation," Clarke said. "So for them to invoke that, their justification for separating families, I would just say that as a Christian, I've read that we are to welcome the stranger and unfortunately this is not something this administration wants to adhere to."