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Pelosi appears on Charlie Rose show,
takes questions on Immigration Bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

June 28, 2007

The following is a excerpt transcript of a discussion between Charlie Rose and Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the subect of immigration.

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 to me.

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 unforgiving.

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 amnesty. Amnesty...

CHARLIE ROSE: So why do you think they continue to hold that view?

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 way.

And when we do -- when we are doing these things, we`re saying, for example, preserve the planet, and wedding that to innovation agenda.

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.




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