House Minority Leader Says President Has Discretion To Stop Some Deportations


During an unaired portion of an interview on a major Spanish network, the highest-ranking House Democrat called on the President to stop the deportation of immigrants who didn’t commit a crime, saying that the daily average number of deportations is “just wrong.”

In a transcript of Saturday’s Telemundo “Enfoque” show provided by the activist organization DREAM Act Coalition, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told the interviewer Lori Montenegro that she’s unclear whether President Barack Obama (D) has the authority to use his executive powers to suspend deportations, but that he likely has “discretion” in implementing and enforcing “legislation that is calling for these deportations.”

And I myself– coming from San Francisco, representing– being part of California– we have seen deportations that were totally unjustified, you know? […]

[…] Our view of the law is that it– if somebody is here without sufficient documentation, that is not reason for deportation. If somebody has broken the law, committed a felony or something, that’s a different story … If your only violation is you overstayed or came in a certain way, that’s no reason to split a family … We would frankly though like to move on and pass comprehensive immigration reform so that the problem is put to rest. In the meantime, 1,100 people, on average, a day, it’s just wrong.

Pelosi’s spokesperson, Drew Hammill said that her comment is “a restatement of her long-held belief that being an undocumented immigrant is not a basis for deportation.”


Earlier this month, 29 House Democrats wrote a letter to the President similarly calling on him to stop most deportations and to expand the deferred action program to include the undocumented parents of youths granted temporary legal presence.

Relations between the Obama administration and immigration activists have been strained in recent months, especially after an undocumented protestor called on the President to halt all deportations last month. During an online chat sponsored by Skype last week, the White House Domestic Policy Director Cecilia Muñoz punted to Congress to stop deportations saying, “We need Congress to act if we are really going to protect everybody from deportation and put those people on a path to citizenship.”