Appearing at a San Francisco Church, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told a group apparently comprised of illegal immigrants and their families that enforcement of existing immigration laws, as currently practiced, is "un-American."
The speaker went on to condemn agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for doing their jobs: enforcing immigration laws and arresting people living in the United States illegally, according to Fox News.
While ICE was implicitly described as “un-American,” though, the crowd attending Pelosi’s talk was told that they were "very, very patriotic."
"Who in this country would not want to change a policy of kicking in doors in the middle of the night and sending a parent away from their families?" Pelosi said in a video taken at the event. "It must be stopped....What value system is that? I think it's un-American. I think it's un-American."
Pelosi spoke at the invitation of Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., who has organized a 17-city, cross-country tour called United Families. He says it is intended to put a human face on the immigration debate.
"We think that families are the cornerstone of our society and our nation, and an immigration system should preserve those families, not destroy them," Gutierrez told Fox News. The congressman is collecting petitions that ask President Obama to "stop the immigration raids and deportations that are tearing our marriages, families and children apart." He is expected to present those petitions when Hispanic members of Congress meet with the President Wednesday.
To chants of “Si se puede,” or “Yes we can,” Pelosi went on to slam work site enforcement by ICE.
"We have to have a change in policy and practice and again ... I can't say enough, the raids must end,” Pelosi said. “The raids must end.”
"You are special people. You're here on a Saturday night to take responsibility for our country's future. That makes you very, very patriotic."
"I was embarrassed by what she said," Rick Oltman of Californians for Population Stabilization, an anti-illegal immigrant group, told Fox. "Exhorting illegal aliens for taking responsibility for our country's future.... In fact, sitting there in the audience.... I really resented that comment."
"I think it was pandering to the crowd but also insulting to American citizens who consider themselves to be patriotic, who obey the rule of law," said Oltman, who shot a video of the rally.
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