(CNSNews.com) – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said today that the United States, as a country, "cannot prohibit a pathway to citizenship" for illegal aliens.
“As a country, we cannot, let me say, we cannot prohibit a path to citizenship,” Pelosi said Tuesday at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation annual economic summit in Washington, D.C.
“I don’t think we as a country want to be a country that says, ‘You can do our work, but you can’t have the rights of a citizen in our country,’” said Pelosi. “It’s more about who we are as a nation.”
Pelosi joined other politicians, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to discuss the economy and other topics, including immigration reform.
Nancy Cordes, a congressional correspondent with CBS, asked Pelosi if she would be open to the House Republicans introducing legislation that would put pieces of immigration reform up for consideration that might not include a “pathway to citizenship.”
“It has to be comprehensive immigration reform,” Pelosi said. “Now, the Senate bill is not a bill that I embrace lovingly.
“However, it’s bipartisan. It passed the Senate. It’s something that could be signed into law immediately, and I’ve urged the speaker to take up that bill,” Pelosi said, referring to S. 744, the Border Security and Immigration Modernization Act, which cleared that body in June 2013.
Pelosi said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other Republicans might present an alternative to the Senate bill before this session ends, but it would have to include a pathway to citizenship to gain her support.
“But to your direct point about citizenship; the Senate Bill is effectively a legalization bill with a path to citizenship. It’s long, arduous and takes a good deal of time,” Pelosi said.
“What I’d like to see is a bill that does something similar to that,” Pelosi said. “I don’t think we as a country want to be a country that says, ‘You can do our work, but you can’t have the rights of a citizen in our country.’
“It’s more about who we are as a nation,” Pelosi said, adding that illegal aliens want to be “relieved of deportation.”
“As a country, we cannot, let me say, we cannot prohibit a path to citizenship,” she said.