Pelosi changes position on border bill
July 16th, 2014
05:22 PM ET
9 years ago

Pelosi changes position on border bill

Washington (CNN) - Under pressure from Hispanic lawmakers and outside immigration advocates House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has changed her position on a key flashpoint in the debate over the border crisis.

Pelosi indicated Wednesday she opposes altering a 2008 immigration law that would expedite the deportation of children crossing the southwest border from Central American countries.

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Just last week Pelosi said adding that change to a border funding bill was "not a deal breaker." But on Wednesday she came out against a bipartisan bill sponsored by Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar and Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn to modify the 2008 law. Their proposal would eliminate part of the anti-human trafficking law that mandates all unaccompanied minors not from Mexico or Canada who enter the United States illegally get a hearing before an immigration judge before being returned home.

Pelosi's spokesman released a statement saying "Leader Pelosi opposes this legislation as it is not in furtherance of due process for these children."

But the statement also suggested Pelosi could accept some type of modification, adding, “if any changes to the 2008 law are made, they must ensure due process for these children.”

The GOP-led House is expected to consider a pared-down spending bill from the $3.7 billion package the White House requested to address the border situation. Republican leaders plan to attach changes to the 2008 law to that funding bill.

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, told reporters the Congressional Hispanic Caucus would tell President Barack Obama at a White House meeting on Wednesday they would vote against his request for border money if that policy change is included.

Asked if their opposition jeopardizes the administration's ability to get the money it argues is an emergency, Castro said "I can’t guess on the vote total yet, there are 435 members, but there are many Democrats who feel as if the kids should get their day in court."

Rep Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, told reporters that he, along with several immigration advocacy groups, met with Pelosi recently to discuss their strong opposition to the Cuellar-Cornyn bill, and urge leaders to oppose it.

Some Hispanic members are expressing frustration that the White House floated the idea that it would include a change in the law as part of its $3.7 billion request for emergency money. It didn't, but administration officials, like Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, continue to say they support Congress altering the law.

"The mixed messages – at least for the Hispanic Caucus – kind of made us feel like we were standing alone," Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona, told CNN.

Grijalva said seeing the Cuellar-Cornyn legislation on paper helped rally outside groups and progressive and Hispanic caucus Democrats to draw the line and oppose any effort to tie any emergency border money to a provision to change the 2008 law. "It was so bad that is helped.”

The Arizona Democrat said he and others feel protecting the law is more important that approving the money that the President wants to address the situation at the border.

"The girding underneath this whole issue is race, and that's becoming more of a unifying issue in the Hispanic community because they see this – whether you are third, fourth, fifth, sixth generation – the treatment, the demonizing of these children, the whole ugly debate around immigration, is for some citizens, it's also a civil rights issue."

Filed under: Immigration • Nancy Pelosi • White House
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Bobby

    Pelosi is a phony, does not care about U.S. citizens and doesn't belong anywhere near a "house of anything" that supposedly "represents" Americans. For that matter, neither does the majority of the democrat party.

    July 17, 2014 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  2. Chuck

    Pelosi and Reid need to retire, they are both showing signs of advanced Dementia
    The crazy lies they make up is downright frightening.

    July 17, 2014 04:19 am at 4:19 am |
  3. Demon48q

    an loan:

    Let's get a grasp on reality the fact is the purpose of the bill was to prevent human trafficking but after later when Pres. Barack Obama tweaked this bill which created this pathway to citizenship.

    July 17, 2014 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  4. Demon48q


    This is nothing new to Nancy Pelosi she even confuses herself on the issues and when she doesn't understand something in writing it is always best to pass something before you read it. Do you realize that I'm from the same state as Nancy Pelosi, but I want to make it very clear I have never voted for her first and foremost I believe she represents those in San Francisco. But that has nothing to do with her being incompetent just because she's from San Francisco.

    July 17, 2014 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  5. ceecee54

    "...the whole ugly debate around immigration, is for some citizens, it's also a civil rights issue."

    What about the civil rights of the AMERICAN citizens? This will absolutely collapse our system.

    July 17, 2014 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  6. Clay

    I never thought I would consider switching to the Republican. Party, but I think they right on immigration issue. This population has to be put back in balance, how can illegal immigrants. Be allied to surge across the border and out number black Americans. One person one vote, these criminal thugs have stolen polical power from black Americans . And white America is next. Again, I am very liberal and not a racist, but this situation must be reversed, seal the border.

    July 17, 2014 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  7. WOW

    LOL...Reid JUST said the borders are secure!!! Is this man on drugs or what??????
    Comon CNN...I DARE you to cover THAT!!!!!

    July 17, 2014 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  8. J Anthony

    For u folks who can't grasp the concept of "root-cause"- these are the consequences of corporate globalism, black market capitalism, and bad trade policies that benefit the wrong people. These kids are as much victims as U.S. citizens. The media is ignoring the larger conflict, preferring to exacerbate the partisan nonsense rather than educate....

    July 17, 2014 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  9. lori

    Why yes, an lowan, it most certainly is Bush's fault. After all, it just must have taken all of these people 5-6 years to get to the border, right? When can you people start holding your president accountable? You make me want to puke.

    July 17, 2014 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  10. rla

    Do we really want the hispanics open borders bunch running the show??? I think not... People if you want America back start calling congress and tell them America is not to be run by the refugee apologists in congress. Love legal immigration but hate the illegal politica; immigration the democrats are pushing

    July 17, 2014 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  11. George

    It became abandons fault the day he told ICE to ignore the law.

    July 17, 2014 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  12. NoBS

    They are shipping these people all over America. ..Indiana. ..NEW York. ..Chicago. .California. ..Colorado. .soon your town will be flooded...this is what you get when you vote Democrat.

    July 17, 2014 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Some Hispanic members are expressing frustration that the White House floated the idea that it would include a change in the law as part of its $3.7 billion request for emergency money. It didn't,
    Great reporting per usual CNN.
    The administration DID NOT float the idiea that is causing HIspanic members of Congres to bistle.
    The question is: Who did?
    I have a pretty good idea just based on who would stand to benefit if they could turn the Hispanic members of Congress against this administration and by extension Hispanic voters....

    July 17, 2014 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Correction:" That is causing Hispanic members of Congress to bristle". Pardon.

    July 17, 2014 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    Obama is pulling her he has all along.

    July 17, 2014 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
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