Pelosi appears on Charlie Rose show,
takes questions on Immigration Bill
Speaker Nancy Pelosi
June 28, 2007
The following is a excerpt transcript of a discussion
between Charlie Rose and Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the subect
CHARLIE ROSE: Let me move from foreign to domestic. Immigration.
What`s going to happen this week, next week on an immigration
proposal that both the president and Senator Kennedy both would
like to see passed?
NANCY PELOSI: First, let me do something that may surprise
you. Let me praise the president. I think he`s been very courageous
in fighting for an immigration bill that will bring some order
to the situation that is in our country. I think the president
is doing what is right, what he believes is right, and it`s a
tough fight in his own party.
The principles that we have on our -- on the House side in terms
of the Democrats are that we will secure our borders, we will
have workplace enforcement, we will protect our workers, we`ll
unify families, and we`ll have a path to legalization.
Some of those features are present in the Senate bill.
What`s going to happen this week? The Senate will vote as to
-- for cloture, as to whether they can end filibuster and go to
debate on the bill. That will be on Thursday. And then they will
go from there to see whether they have the votes to pass the bill.
Of course, we`ll be waiting to see if the bill meets the standards
that we have, or what compromises we can make, because it is very
important for us to have an immigration bill.
CHARLIE ROSE: And what do you think the likelihood of
having one is?
NANCY PELOSI: It all depends on the leadership of the
president of the United States. The problem he is having is largely
in his own party on this, and it is -- I`ve said it now for a
year and a half -- if the president wants the legislation, the
legislation will pass.
CHARLIE ROSE: Have the proponents of this bill done a
good enough job to sell it to the country?
NANCY PELOSI: It`s amazing. If you take individual pieces
of the bill, the American people support it. There is an element
in our -- well, talk radio, or in some cases hate radio, where
they just go on and on and on in a xenophobic, anti-immigrant...
CHARLIE ROSE: Calling it amnesty, amnesty, amnesty.
NANCY PELOSI: Amnesty, which it is not. And it`s interesting
because my faith -- I`m a Catholic and from San Francisco, which
I`m proud to represent in the Congress...
CHARLIE ROSE: Via Baltimore.
NANCY PELOSI: Via Baltimore, Maryland, which I`m very
proud of as well. And in both places, my faith was very important
Song of St. Francis is the anthem of the city of San Francisco.
St. Francis is our patron saint. And we always talk when there
is hatred, we will bring love. His song, make me a channel --
where there is hatred, may we bring love, where there`s despair,
may we bring hope; where there is darkness, light. And to forgive
is to be forgiven.
And all of a sudden, all these people of faith are just very
CHARLIE ROSE: They are not willing to forgive.
NANCY PELOSI: They`re not willing to say, OK, they made
a mistake. Now, they have to pay all these fines, they have to
do all of these things, which will require them to have paid their
debt to society, but we will never forgive them. It`s not about
CHARLIE ROSE: So why do you think they continue to hold
NANCY PELOSI: I really don`t want to characterize anyone
else`s motivation. I just think that they haven`t been blessed
with the experience that many of us have with living in a mixed
society, where we know that the future of America depends on this
constant invigoration of people coming in. I think, justifiably
so, they`re unhappy that people came in not strictly legally.
Some came legally, maybe 30, 40 percent, but overstayed their
welcome. So there`s an unhappiness about that, and I respect that.
But what we`re saying is, make them pay their debt to society,
and then let`s get on a path to legalization, which is a long
and circuitous one. They get at the end of the line of anybody
waiting to become a citizen or to come into our country.
But what`s interesting about it is is that they really -- I
mean, what are we going to do with 12 million people? Does anyone
want to pay the price of arresting them all? Are we going to send
them all home when so much of our, whether it`s our agriculture
industry or other industries, depend on their work? And now they
have children born in America.
But it is -- it`s difficult, and I respect -- as I say, I don`t
want to mischaracterize. I know there are some who are exploiting
this for reasons that are not highly motivated. But there are
many people in our country who have legitimate concerns about
obeying the law and respecting that.
CHARLIE ROSE: A lot of people also have legitimate concerns
about the loss of jobs to overseas. And it is said that this Democratic
Congress has a different attitude about trade than previous Congresses.
Do you fear economic nationalism coming into play and trade legislation
not having the same possibility it has had before?
NANCY PELOSI: Charlie, you very astutely positioned both
of these issues right next to each other -- immigration and trade.
Because many people in our country think that they don`t have
a job because of immigrants, or because of trade policy. Some
of them may be right. Others may have just a ripple effect of
it. And some don`t have a job because our economy is not addressing
the needs of all Americans.
So I think if we`re going to be able to have a trade policy
that enables us to benefit from globalization and we`re able to
have an immigration policy, enables our country to be invigorated
by determined newcomers, determined to make the future better
for their families, we`re going to have to have a very progressive
economic agenda for job creation and for job training, so that
all people in our country think we`re not just doing this here;
we understand that we need to lift everyone up, and we want to
have an economy that does that. Not a trickle-down, but a percolate-up.
CHARLIE ROSE: And how do we do that?
NANCY PELOSI: Well, some of the ways are very interesting.
We have, as Democrats, we have put forth our innovation agenda,
our commitment to competitiveness to keep America No. 1. And to
invest in the research and development that will stimulate that.
But we all know that innovation begins in the classroom, so
we have to -- I`m so pleased that -- that legislation has already
passed, and we`ve passed legislation that`s the biggest commitment
to higher education in our country since the G.I. Bill of Rights.
And we also have a -- our -- preserve the planet.
I talk to my colleagues this way. We have to defend our country,
grow our economy through innovation, strengthen our families through
education and health care, et cetera, and to preserve our planet,
to do so in the most fiscally sound way, the highest ethical standard,
and in a way that is accountable to the public, in a bipartisan
And when we do -- when we are doing these things, we`re saying,
for example, preserve the planet, and wedding that to innovation
We`re talking about a green revolution in our country, where
many more people can participate in a new industry. Green collar
jobs, green jobs that, again, reverse global warming, reduce energy
independence, and take us to another place, where everybody participates,
not just some.