Pelosi Says Border Wall 'Undermines Who We Are As a Country'

By Susan Jones | February 16, 2017 | 11:59 AM EST

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. (Screen grab from C-SPAN)

(CNSNews.com) - Building a border wall "undermines who we are as a country," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told a news conference on Thursday. She said she is "opposed to the wall" -- "politically, substantively, officially, spiritually, religiously, personally."

She also described recent ICE raids across the country as "another assault on our values."

"In the past week, we have witnessed ICE raids across our nation targeting parents, students and a DACA-protected dreamer...We have seen press reports that federal immigration agents went to the El Paso County courthouse and arrested an undocumented woman who had just received a protective order after suffering domestic violence. The agents apparently detained the woman after receiving a tip, possibly from her alleged abuser.

"What is this?" Pelosi asked. "You know, It's supposed to be--they're only supposed to be--" (She trailed off and did not finish her thought.)

Pelosi mentioned another case where "ICE even lay in wait for undocumented immigrants outside a church hypothermia shelter. These are some places, churches and all the rest, that you're really supposed to be more respectful of."

Pelosi called the ICE raids "cruel and arbitrary and intended to create fear in immigrant communities."

Democrats wanted to meet with the acting ICE director yesterday to discuss the raids, but ICE refused to meet only with Democrats and cancelled the meeting, Pelosi said.

That meeting is scheduled for later today, and at the insistence of ICE, it will be bipartisan. Pelosi said ICE officials have designated "which Democrats could attend the meeting." She called it stunning. "We've never seen anything like that."

Pelosi also said she hasn't seen any statistics that would support the ICE's claim that 75 percent of those targeted in recent raids had criminal convictions. She expressed concern that ICE is treating illegal status as a "serious crime."

"Prosecutorial discretion relates more to serious violent crime. People should go. Nobody's complaining about that. But we're asking for the numbers. Show us your numbers."

She referred once again to the domestic violence victim and the person coming out a church shelter: "That's not prosecutorial discretion. That's across-the-board raids. But again, show us the facts," she added.

In response to a question about President Trump's promised border wall, "Where's the money going to come from?" Pelosi asked. "First of all, it -- it really undermines who we are as a country."

Even if Mexico paid for the wall, "again, it undermines who we are as a country," she repeated.

Pelosi described the area where a wall might be built as "a community with a border running through it." She admitted that, "in some places, we have to protect our borders. That's our -- our right, but to do so with a wall "doesn't make sense."

She said a wall feeds into "fear-mongers" and "notion-mongers," the latter a reference to people who cling to notions rather than ideas.