Transcript of Remarks by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, St. Anthony's Catholic Church, San Francisco, March 7, 2009


Rep. Luis Gutierrez: "The Speaker of the House, the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi."

(Applause)Si, Se Puede, Si Se Puede, Si, Se Puede, Si Se Puede, Si, Se Puede, Si Se Puede, Si, Se Puede, Si Se Puede, Si, Se Puede, Si Se Puede, Si, Se Puede, Si Se Puede, Si, Se Puede, Si Se Puede, Si, Se Puede, Si Se Puede, Si Se Puede.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Isn't it appropriate that Barack Obama adopted that slogan, "Yes we can"? Yes we can. Si Se Puede.

It's so wonderful to be with all of you here this evening in church, in church. A place that values the dignity and the work of every person. A place that sees the spark of divinity in every person and knows that every person is worthy of respect.

Thank you Father Torres and St. Anthony's Church, St. Peter's church, I know part of bringing you all together, all the members of the clergy who are here this evening.

Supervisor Campos for your leadership and your dedication on this important issue. David Campos, Supervisor for your district. For bringing you all together.

Forgive me for not being able to speak to you in Spanish. I want to join all of you in welcoming my colleague Congressman Gutierrez to San Francisco. As he... (applause) As he said, he's on a nationwide tour that goes on and on across the country, lobbying for and advocating for comprehensive immigration policy.

And yes a fair policy for everyone to stop the raids. To stop the raids.

You are a special people. You're here on a Saturday night to take responsibility for our country's future. That makes you very, very patriotic. Because, our future is about our children.

When our country came together, the very beginning of the country, they said it was a new order for the ages, a forum for the ages. And they knew that would be true because every generation would take responsibility for the next generation to make the country better. And that became true because the American Dream drew people to our shores and when they came and when your parents and families came, whether it was yesterday or four centuries ago, and when my ancestors came from Italy with their hopes and their dreams and their aspirations and determination for a better future for your family, that optimism, that hope, that courage, that determination of immigrants of your families when you arrived here, made America more American.

You brought with you your tradition of family values, of faith, of community, of responsibility.

How then could America say it's ok to send parents of children away? What value system is that? I think it's un-American. I think it's un-American.

I want to join Luis Gutierrez in saluting the families for their courage, for their generosity and spirit, of spirit, to share their stories.

Ivan, and Guadalupe and Yvette, for sharing their stories about their families... because no politician's speeches will ever be as eloquent as their personal testimony about what their family has experienced.

Who in our country, who in our country, could not be moved by their stories? Who in our 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?

It must be stopped. It must be stopped.

Gutierrez, (unintelligible) I know San Francisco Organizing Project (unintelligible) has been part of this and St. Peter's and St. Anthony's, and so many to make this evening such an important testimony to the need for change.

Luis Gutierrez and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have been working on this for a long time, they're trying to prevent it and now they're trying to get rid of it.

And all over the country it's going to said... But, I want to bear witness to, people are turning out with courage and conviction and, and insistence that this stop. There are ways it can stop, by just changing policy by the administration, which I think will happen, but we need comprehensive immigration reform and we need it soon. And we need it soon. And we need it soon. (Applause)

Congressman Gutierrez has been the champion in the Congress on this issue. In fact he's been to San Francisco many times. to talk about this. In fact I said to him, "Don't run for anything in my district. You're getting too popular."

Family re-unification. He has a principle.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Democrats have a principle in our policy, family unification. A path to legalization, protection of people who are in our country.

So, if family unification is one of our goals to sustain that, how on Earth, how on Earth, can our country be dividing families, how can that be happening here?

I came here tonight to listen, then they told me I would speak, and I want to assure you that I have heard these families.

They're not the stories, they're not unknown to us. In fact our office has tried to help Guadalupe's family, she a San Franciscan, as she said. Her mother got a stay of deportation, which is only temporary. It's not good enough. The father has already been deported. But we're trying to help the specific cases.

But for this really to work, in addition to trying to help individual families, we have to have a change in policy and practice and again... can't say enough; The raids must end. The raids must end.

These are our children. These are our children. They are the children of America. We want the best for all Americans. All of America's children. And that means having them be with their parents first and foremost.

Let me just tell you one more thing about Luis and the Hispanic Caucus.

One of the first bills that passed out of the Congress of the United States called State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Because of (unintelligible)... Velazquez of New York and Xavier Becerra who is the (unintelligible)... Democrat congress of the Democrats in Congress, we were able to insist that the United States Senate accept our language that extended our benefits to those children who are here and do not fulfill the five years... to receive that benefit.

It was a big fight, was a big victory. (Applause)

You know, I wanted you to know about that most recent victory and that was because Barak Obama insisted upon it as well. (Applause)

So, now the Hispanic Caucus is going to see the President in about two weeks.

One thing, that will be for them, and hear what the plan will be and how we will go forward.

We will have a plan, we will have a change, we're going to make a difference. And, it will happen because of all of you , knew enough, cared enough, came out tonight joining others coming out across the country to listen to the stories of friends.

You know of many more stories, I know. But to listen to these stories and not just hear them, but be prepared to repeat them in the halls of congress and to the President of the United States.

May I say how proud I am to represent you? Again to exercise your patriotic duty. To turn around (unintelligible).

And I thank each and every one of you with what you do with your commitment to family and community and faith, for what you do to strengthen America. And to make, as I said before, to make America more American. Thank you for this opportunity.


© 2009 Brenda Walker All rights reserved.