Should Obama Legalize Illegals from Iraq? Pelosi Won't Say

Brittany M. Hughes | October 2, 2014 | 10:03am EDT
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

( - During her weekly press briefing on Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) did not answer a question put to her by on whether any future executive action taken unilaterally by President Barack Obama to legalize illegal aliens in the United States should include illegal aliens from Iraq. asked Pelosi: “In 2007, there was an article in the El Paso Times, and then-Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said that, quote, 'a significant number' of Iraqis had that year already come across the Southwest border of the United States. If President Obama does what he has promised to do and takes executive action to legalize some illegal aliens in the United States--”

“Are you referring to undocumented people who are in the United States?” Pelosi interrupted.

“Yes ma’am, illegal aliens--” replied.

“Undocumented. Okay,” Pelosi interjected.

“--should this legislation include Iraqis as well?” asked.

“Well, we have many borders,” Pelosi began. “We have the Canadian border, we have the southern border. We have people coming by land and sea. And we certainly have to protect the American people. That’s our first responsibility, to protect and defend.

“I don’t think it has anything to do with what the president is going to do next on immigration,” she continued. “I think it has to do with what we are doing for our national security.”

Following the briefing, asked Pelosi, via email and phone messages to her press secretary, if Obama's amnesty plan should include Iraqis, and if so, whether the U.S. government has the ability to perform reliable background checks on illegal aliens who have come from areas now controlled by ISIS. Pelosi's office did not respond.

During a 2007 interview with the El Paso Times, then-McConnell told a reporter that a "significant number" of Iraqis had illegally crossed the U.S. border in the previous year and he expected more to come in the future. McConnell also said at that time that there were “some cases” of terrorists crossing illegally into the United States across the Mexican border.

“There are some," he said of terrorists coming across the border. "And would they use it as a path, given it was available to them? In time they will."

“There were a significant number of Iraqis who came across last year. Smuggled across illegally,” McConnell added.

“Now some we caught, some we didn't,” McConnell continued. “The ones that get in, what are they going to do? They're going to write home. So, it's not rocket science, word will move around. There's a program now in South America, where you can, once you're in South American countries, you can move around in South America and Central America without a visa. So you get a forged passport in Lebanon or wherever that gets you to South America. Now, no visa, you can move around, and with you're forged passport, as a citizen of whatever, you could come across that border.”

During a press conference in Wales in early September, Obama announced that “in the absence of congressional action,” he intends to use executive power to create “some path” for illegal aliens in the United States to “be legal.”

“In the absence of congressional action, I intend to take action to make sure that we’re putting more resources on the border, that we’re upgrading how we process these cases, and that we find a way to encourage legal immigration and give people some path so that they can start paying taxes and pay a fine and learn English and be able to not look over their shoulder but be legal, since they’ve been living here for quite some time,” Obama said.

Since then, the president has maintained he will not take such action until after the midterm elections in November.

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