House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) faced tough questions from the mother of a boy killed by an illegal alien about sanctuary cities and the threat they pose to Americans.
During a CNN town hall Tuesday night, Pelosi took questions from the audience, including one from Laura Wilkerson. Identified by moderator Jake Tapper as a Republican, Wilkerson fought back tears as she asked Pelosi the following question:
“There are over 300 cities in this country that are sanctuary cities,” Wilkerson said. “Like San Francisco. And you're not only choosing to disavow a law, but you are adding sanctuary to people who come there and disavow the law.”
“In 2010, one of the illegals slaughtered my son,” said Wilkerson. “He tortured him, he beat him, he tied him up like an animal, and he set him on fire. And I am not a one-story mother. This happens every day. Because there are no laws enforcing the border. We have to start giving American families first.”
“This is not -- bad to not put Americans first,” she said. “We have family that fought and died for this country.”
“How do you reconcile in your head about allowing people to disavow the law?” said Mrs. Wilkerson.
Pelosi expressed sympathy for Wilkerson but defended sanctuary cities, which include her home district in San Francisco.
“Well, again, I commend you for sharing your story,” said Pelosi. “I can't even imagine the pain. I can't even imagine. There is, there is nothing, I'm sure that can compare to the grief that you have. And so I pray for you. I pray for you.”
“Again, we all pray that none of us has to experience what you have experienced,” said Pelosi. “So thank you for channeling your energy to help prevent something like that from happening.”
“But I do want to say to you, that in our sanctuary cities, our people are not disobeying the law,” said the Democratic Minority Leader.
“These are law-abiding citizens,” she said, “it enables them to, to be there without being reported to ICE in case of another crime that they might bear witness to.”
Wilkerson asked Pelosi a second question.
“If you need to go home tonight and line up your babies, as you say, and your grandbabies, which one of them could you look in their eyes today, and tell them that they're expendable for another foreign person to have a nicer life?” she said. “Which one would you look to [and] say, you, my child, are expendable for someone else to come over here and not follow the law and have a nicer life?”
Pelosi insisted that the sanctuary city program does not shelter criminals.
“The point is that you do not turn law enforcement officers into immigration officers,” said Pelosi. “It’s not a questions of giving sanctuary to someone who is guilty of a crime. They should be deported, or sent to jail for what they do, if you can catch them in time.”
Pelosi has represented California in Congress since 1987. She previously served as Speaker of the House from 2007-2011 and was elected House minority leader this year.