House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) on Friday castigated the White House's newly released immigration reform proposal as a "campaign to make America white again."
Her comments came the day after the White House released a framework for immigration reform that proposes a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million young illegal immigrants in exchange for $25 billion to go toward a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and other border-security measures.
Recent Stories in Issues
Speaking at the United States Conference of Mayors, Pelosi blasted the framework with racially-charged rhetoric, suggesting that the White House plan seeks to hurt minority groups.
"Let me just say what I said last night: that plan is a campaign to make America white again," Pelosi said, claiming that the proposal will cut legal immigration by 50 percent.
The White House framework calls for policies that prioritize family members "to spouses and minor children only," and to eliminate the visa lottery system, which the memo says "is riddled with fraud and abuse and does not serve the national interest."
Pelosi also said there is bipartisan support in Congress for so-called Dreamers—immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, who receive legal protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA)—but not at "the top where they would bring up a bill."
The White House proposal offers a pathway to citizenship over 10-12 years for both Dreamers and those illegal immigrants who meet the DACA criteria but did not sign up.
In her remarks, Pelosi thanked mayors across the country for their "courage" in overseeing sanctuary cities, jurisdictions that do not fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
"People don't understand—the one problem I think the current occupant of the White House—they don't understand that sanctuary cities is [sic] what helps law enforcement. It helps public safety," Pelosi said.
"If only they just understood how somebody could come forward if they know they're protected to help public safety, but they don't really want to know because that doesn't serve their purpose," Pelosi added.
The House last year passed Kate's Law, which increases the penalties for illegal immigrants who come back into the U.S. multiple times after being deported, and the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, which forces cities to cooperate with federal immigration laws and agencies and would allow the federal government to deny funds for law enforcement if the cities do not comply with the law.