Question: What is your plan for immigration reform?
Nancy Pelosi: Well, we have been on the same page on immigration reform. Our Democratic caucus has adopted certain principles that relate to securing our borders, enforcing our laws, protecting our workers, unifying families and having a path to legalization. And they are the principles that we have been arguing from, debating from, for several years now. So I would hope that any comprehensive immigration reform that we would have would contain those principles.
We also recognize that immigration is essential to our competitiveness. We need all the fresh, wonderful thinkers from all over the world to be part of our economy. And we also need many of the young people who have been educated in our institutions of higher learning, especially in the sciences, to stay here.
So, short of a comprehensive immigration reform, or a part of it, we'd like to see a green card stapled to every graduate degree in that regard.
Question: Can we disentangle immigration from racism and xenophobia?
Nancy Pelosi: I appreciate the question, because I have said to the President [George W. Bush], and to my colleagues, and to all who will listen, that we will not be in a position to have the comprehensive immigration reform that we want unless we enlarge the issue.
Many people are concerned in our country about their job security. And they think they're losing the job because of trade or because of immigration.
So until we have a progressive economic agenda creating good-paying jobs in America where people have more sense of security themselves, we won't be able to have the immigration reform that is necessary and worthy of the subject that we are addressing. So I believe the foundation has to be laid by a strong economic, job-producing, job-creating, business-creating agenda for America. And then we can go to the next step.
Recorded on: June 24, 2008