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March 21, 2009

Pelosi Stands Firm on Immigration Overhaul

"By Karoun Demirjian, CQ Staff

A comprehensive immigration bill may or may not happen in 2009, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says lawmakers shouldn’t wait to put the brakes on enforced deportation measures that many say have gotten out of control.

“ICE raids that break up families, just kicking in the door in the middle of the night, taking a parent away, that’s just not the American way,” Pelosi said Thursday, at a conference on border issues hosted by the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

Democrats have criticized Immigration and Customs Enforcement on several occasions in the past few years for placing a greater priority on catching large numbers of illegal immigrants through worksite sweeps than on apprehending dangerous criminals. Many Republicans have argued that ICE is simply doing the job it was assigned.

Pelosi took some heat from conservative pundits for expressing such sentiments, which she first did at a rally of immigrants and their supporters in a San Francisco church last week — part of a multi-city tour being organized by Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill., to build momentum for another legislative shot at immigration overhaul. But Thursday, Pelosi stuck firmly to her position, urging immediate action even in the absence of a comprehensive package.
“We need this comprehensive reform, and we need it soon,” Pelosi said. “And we need to stop those kinds of ICE raids in the meantime.”
Her comments, one day after a Congressional Hispanic Caucus meeting with President Obama that focused on how to tackle immigration in Congress, are the most high-profile endorsement of recasting the mission of ICE to have been issued.

But the onus of making the changes resides with the administration. Caucus members have asked Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to scale back the raids, but there have been no changes to agency policy".

Source: CQ Homeland Security
© 2009 Congressional Quarterly Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Posted by VisaLawyer at March 21, 2009 01:36 PM


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