Pelosi Remarks at MomsRising Press Conference Calling for an End to Family Separation
Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined House and Senate Democrats, and immigrant, women and family advocates for a press conference calling on Secretary Kirsten Nielsen and the Trump Administration to end its family destruction policy. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
Leader Pelosi. Thank you very much Donna and thank you to MomsRising for bringing us all together. [Referencing a baby crying] Hear that beautiful sound, the sound of the future.
Here we are to talk about an approach that is so anti-family, so out-of-the-question that you have to wonder what’s in their alleged minds and certainly in their hearts. It was a number of months ago that the administration first told me, before the first of the year that they knew how to deal with children, that they did not think that the mothers were responsible that they would bring their children across the desert in a dangerous way.
And I said to them, ‘Do you realize these mothers had no choice? That this was what they had to do to protect their children from danger and all kinds of terrible occurrences?’
And they said, ‘No, these mothers did not act responsibly and we know how to take care of children. We are going to take them away from their mothers and do other things including putting them in foster homes.’
Now, as a mother of five and grandmother of nine, when you have a lot of children and you have children, you think you have responsibility for everybody’s child.
My only reason for being in politics is the one in five children in America who lives in poverty. So when they said that, I did not know whether to resort to violence over the phone because it was so unnatural and so, shall we say, out-of-keeping with anybody who had a sense of family?
I had pointed out, this is the first Republican president in modern times to be so anti-newcomer, anti-family. In fact, President Reagan – when President Obama enacted DACA etcetera because Congress did not act – President Reagan acted even after Congress acted. He said, ‘You guys did not go far enough.’ So, he introduced Family Fairness and he and President George Herbert Walker Bush embraced that and actually they protected a higher percentage of family members, of people than President Obama.
That was a value shared in a bipartisan way, led by President Reagan and President George Herbert Walker Bush, continued by President Clinton, President George W. Bush who cared about immigrants in his heart as well as in his policy, and of course President Obama. And along comes this President who not only is anti-immigrant, not recognizing that immigrants are the constant reinvigoration of America, but they say no about family, and the good thing they’ll do for these children is take them away from their parents, from their mothers. Shocking.
That these people, who on the first day that the First Lady says that children have to come first, we have to give priority – God bless her for that – that same day they cut $7 billion out of the Children’s Health Insurance Program out of the CHIP. That same week they were cutting billions, tens of billions of dollars out of food stamps for children. And so, are we about children or are we not? Are we about family values or are we not?
Of all of the bad things that they have done, the wrong decisions they have made, nothing is more revealing – I think – more hurtful than what they’re talking about with children.
I met with hundreds of foster kids the other day and when I told them this is what the administration is suggesting even for those young teenagers, they knew, whether you had a good or bad foster experience, that you don’t take children away from their parents. And do so saying, ‘we know what’s good for the child.’
So, I thank all of you for calling attention to all of this. I think it speaks loudly and maybe, maybe they will understand. Maybe if their family members told them, maybe if their children said, ‘it’s not a good idea to take children away from families and pretend that you care about family values.’
So we have to put a stop to this and there’s no better way than to make sure the American people are aware of it. So thank you, MomsRising!
We were all together last Sunday for our Moms Summit, talking about how important it was for moms and families to have opportunity, and also for their views to be known and affect public policy. MomsRising and all the other organizations that are here today, thank you for making it known to the public. As Lincoln said, ‘public sentiment it everything.’ And for the public to act upon that sentiment they have to know what the challenge is. You are doing that.
Thank you for working so hard for our children, for our future. Thank you, all!