WASHINGTON -- The current GOP rhetoric on immigration reform left House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) looking back fondly on the days of former President George W. Bush.
"He was so great on immigration, President George W. Bush," she said Wednesday at a weekly meeting with reporters. "He cautioned in this debate to be respectful of the people that we're talking about. That's really not what's happening right now."
Bush pushed for comprehensive immigration reform during his second term, but wasn't able to get it through both chambers of Congress. Lawmakers didn't attempt major immigration reform again until last year, when a comprehensive bill on the issue passed the Senate. But the House hasn't moved on immigration, and isn't likely to do so this year. House Republicans have instead gone after President Barack Obama for his immigration policies, blaming him for the current crisis of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border of the U.S.
Pelosi criticized Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) for circulating a letter this week calling for the president to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a policy that keeps undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children more than seven years ago from being deported. She said such proposals aren't reflective of the views of Republicans, and called it "sad" to hear House Republicans denigrate immigrants.
"I don't know if these people were all sprung from the head of Zeus, or maybe they're all Native Americans, bless their hearts," she said of the House GOP. "But somebody came from someplace for them to be here right now. But you'd never know it to hear them talk."