(CNSNews.com) - Despite appalling conditions in the holding pens and warehouses that are now full of Central American children, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said she was "dazzled" by what she saw at the U.S.-Mexico border on Saturday:
"What we just saw was so stunning, if you believe as we do, that every child, every person, has the park of divinity in them, and is therefore worthy of respect, what we saw in those rooms was (a) dazzling, sparkling array of God's children, worthy of respect."
Speaking in Brownsville, Texas, Pelosi used the word "crisis," but then backed off a bit:
"So we have to use, as was said this morning, the crisis -- that some view as a crisis, and it does have crisis qualities -- as an opportunity to show who we are as Americans; that we do respect people for their dignity and worth, that we know how to get the job done." She talked about stopping trafficking.
Pelosi said as a mother of five and a grandmother, "I wish that I could take all those children home with me." She said the "most tragic image" was that a little boy kept in isolation with a contagious illness. She said she wishes she could take him home, too.
"We are all Americans in this hemisphere -- North and South America," Pelosi said. She also described Brownsville as a "community with a border going through it."
She said the U.S. must work with its Central American neighbors to improve the situation in those countries "so the danger is not so keen."
The immediate goal, she said, is to move the immigrants "into another setting" as quickly as possible -- and do it in a way that meets certain standards. "We have a moral responsibility to address this in a dignified way."
Pelosi also expressed doubt that Congress will pass comprehensive immigration reform this year:
"A few days ago I would have been more optimistic about comprehensive immigration reform," Pelosi said. "I thought that we had been finding a way because we have been very patient and respectful of (Speaker of the House John Boehner) trying to do it one way or another. I don't think he gives us much reason to be hopeful now, but we never give up. There's still the month of July."