Pelosi Complains: 50,000 Irish in the U.S. Illegally 'Can't Even Go Home for a Family Funeral'

By Susan Jones | March 18, 2016 | 7:34 AM EDT
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday blasted House Republicans for their intention to file a legal brief challenging President Obama's unilateral actions on immigration.

"It's ironic that...they're having this vote on St. Patrick's Day," Pelosi told a news conference.  
"Last night, we had a celebration of the Irish-American heritage. While I do not have Irish grandparents, I do have Irish grandchildren, and one of them was there at the dinner and we talked about immigration."

Pelosi then turned her attention to Irish citizens who are in the United States illegally: "So, and what it's about is all the Irish who are here -- 50,000 who are here who can't even go home for a family funeral because the law would not allow them to come back into the country. They are not here, shall we say, fully documented, and we need to change the law, comprehensive immigration reform."

The House voted 234-186 on Thursday to authorize Speaker Paul Ryan to filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a case that is now before the Supreme Court. Twenty-six states, led by Texas, are challenging President Obama's executive action expanding legal status for millions more illegal aliens.

"It is about the integrity of our Constitution," Ryan said. "Those lines — that separation of powers — could not be clearer. But in recent years, the executive branch has blurred these boundaries, to the point of overstepping them altogether."

"Will Republicans yet again call for tearing apart families and deporting DREAMers? Pelosi asked. "Sadly, there's not much difference between Donald Trump and House Republicans when it comes to a record of appalling anti-immigrant statements and an agenda of discrimination."

Pelosi also complained that Republicans have denied Democrats the opportunity to have a "meaningful vote" on their alternative amicus brief in support of Obama's executive actions on immigration, which was filed with the Supreme Court last week. "Very proud of that," Pelosi said.

In late 2014, President Obama, acting on his own, invited illegal aliens who have been in the United States more than five years and who have U.S. citizen children to "come out of the shadows and get right with the law." He also announced the expansion of a program that affects people who came here illegally as children.

The Supreme Court, now evenly divided, is expected to rule on the constitutionality of his actions later this year.