(CNSNews.com) - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) delivered a speech on the House floor on Wednesday attacking a resolution brought up for a vote by the House Republican leadership that denounces recent liberal demands for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and expresses support for the men and women who work in all federal and state agencies that “bring law and order to our nation’s border.”
In her speech attacking this resolution, Pelosi spoke about what she called the “spiritual connection” between a parent and a child.
“This resolution does nothing to prevent the separation of babies from their mothers,” said Pelosi. “You’re parents. You know in the night, you hear a sound from the room down the hall, that connection is something beyond material. It is spiritual. It is about parent and child, mother and child, father and child, and now we’re going to rip that apart.”
Here is the full text of Pelosi’s floor speech:
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, this is really a very sad day in the Congress of the United States because we are ignoring the needs of children. As a mother of five children – I had five children in six years, so lots of little babies all around the house all the time. Lots of joy and understanding the connection between parent and child, and being a grandmother of nine now.
I can’t even imagine why the Republicans think it’s a good idea to move forward with a bill that does nothing to unite families, to stop the separations and to have the reuniting of families in a way that’s humane. Not to reunite and detain, imprison, in detention, but to unite in a way that honors the humanity of America.
In church on Sunday, the sermon was about not being an enemy of humanity. Some of the activities that are happening now in relation to these children are actions that qualify as ‘enemy to humanity.’ What we have, 2,000 children remain separated from their parents, locked away in federal custody and living in a state of terror and trauma. This is a picture of a little boy being confronted with an armed official. Do we have any idea what that impact is on that child?
The Republican Leadership pushed anti-family bills that would have made the horrific situation worse for children by enshrining the President’s outrageous mass deportation agenda as the law of the land, with his zero-tolerance policy. We should have zero-tolerance for that policy.
You, my Republican colleagues, have voted again and again against actions to force a vote on the bill that would require the government to reunite families and now you are promoting a new political stunt, wasting the country’s and the Congress’ time with a meaningless vote on a non-binding resolution that does nothing to protect the children and end the cruel crisis that President Trump has created.
This resolution does nothing to prevent the separation of babies from their mothers. You’re parents. You know in the night, you hear a sound from the room down the hall, that connection is something beyond material. It is spiritual. It is about parent and child, mother and child, father and child, and now we’re going to rip that apart.
It does nothing to protect the separation of children with disabilities from their parents and caregivers. It does nothing to provide legal counsel to children in immigration courts, including little babies who cannot even yet verbally communicate.
For example, Johan. Earlier this summer a 1-year-old boy appeared in court without his parents. 1-year-old. He played with a toy. He drank from a bottle. And then he cried hysterically because he did not have his mother, his father there to comfort or care for him.
The immigration judge even reported that he was, quote, embarrassed to ask if little John could, Yohan, could understand the proceedings. The judge is asking a 1-year-old child, taking a bottle, if he can understand the proceeding. What sort of administration sends a 1-year-old child into a courtroom, alone, to make his case? This resolution is an assault to little children like Yohan.
Congress should be working day and night to prevent these traumatized children. Do you know the toll you are taking on these children? I wish you would listen to representatives of the Society of Pediatric Doctors and what they have to say about this. Pediatricians, what they have to say about this.
We should be working day and night to ensure the President can never again enable children to be ripped from their parents arms. Democrats will continue to fight for families.
Here’s a thing that I found very sad because it was almost a year ago. Say ten months ago, when I was informed by the Administration that they were going to separate children from their parents. This is not something that has emerged. This is a decision that was made.
They said, these parents, especially the moms they were talking about, are unfit mothers because they have chosen to take their children across the desert, which is very dangerous. That makes them unfit. Unfit? Really? If they are, their choice is to stay home to be murdered, be raped, be the victims of gang violence, and they are coming to find solace or refugee status?
They are unfit, I was told by the Administration, and we know better what’s good for the children. We are going to take the children and send them to foster care, or whatever. Or whatever. Foster care or whatever. Taking children from their parents, as a decision of national policy.
Around that same time we had a hearing — well it was earlier. It was on the Muslim ban, so it was more like over a year ago. And the American Association of Evangelicals testified in that hearing. It was a Democratic hearing because the Republicans would not have that hearing, and they said that the American, the U.S. refugee resettlement program is the ‘crown jewel of American humanitarianism.’ American Evangelical Association. The crown jewel of refugee resettlement. The crown jewel of American humanitarianism.
So, how is it that it can be so obvious to so many people that we’re humanitarian, that all of these children are God’s children? All of them have a spark of divinity, Mr. President. They have a spark of divinity, and you do, too. So, let’s all act on our and their spark of divinity and treat them with the level of respect that they deserve. And not use children as a political shield for some other agenda.
This isn’t about what you support ICE or not. And, by the way, I’ll just close on this. On this subject, I want to remind our Republican colleagues that Democrats have been strong on protecting our borders all along.
You recall after 9/11 a commission was formed: the 9/11 Commission. It took a couple years to make recommendations. Took a while to make recommendations. Distinguished, nonpartisan, bipartisan commission. It presented its [recommendations] in the summer of 2004. The Republicans in Congress controlled the Congress at the time, and they would not take up those recommendations, which were about protecting our country.
Nadler, you remember because you were a champion – no, you have been a champion on this issue for such a long time, and since your district was affected by 9/11 you were in the forefront of that fight for us to form a commission to begin with, but also to finish. It took us until the Democrats took control of the Congress. In 2006, the first bill that we put on the floor, H.R. 1 in the new Congress, was to adopt the 9/11 Commission recommendations. To keep the American people safe. Protect and defend, which is our oath of office.
So, don’t make it look like you either are for protecting the border or not. This is about being enemies of humanity by taking children away from their parents, keeping them separated and when they unite them to keep them under detention. It’s not the crown jewel of our humanitarianism.
I urge a no vote on, ah, I’m going to vote present on it because they’ll use it politically. Use it politically. Use it politically.
Vote present or however anyone wants to vote, but understand what it is.
Thank you. I yield back.