House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that it is "barbaric" to separate migrant children from their parents after they illegally enter the country to seek asylum. Pelosi, calling for protests, said she doesn't under "why there aren't uprisings all over the country" of people expressing outrage about the policy.
"First of all, this was act of the administration. They had been planning this for a while," Pelosi said at her weekly press conference on Thursday. "As a mother of five children, grandmother of nine, I'm sure any parents here, mother or father, knows that this is barbaric. This is not what America is. But this is the policy of the Trump administration."
"I just don't even know why there aren't uprisings all over the country. And maybe there will be, when people realize that this is a policy that they defend," the Minority Leader lamented.
REPORTER: Speaker Ryan just said that he's not comfortable with the separation of children and their parents at the border. He said that legislation is the best way to deal with that. Do you agree with him, that legislation is the best approach? And have you talked to him about that legislation, and the possible (inaudible)?
HOUSE MINORITY LEADER REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): No.
And let me say this: First of all, this was act of the administration. They had been planning this for a while.
As a mother of five children, grandmother of nine, I'm sure any parents here, mother or father, knows that this is barbaric. This is not what America is. But this is the policy of the Trump administration. And the -- they can -- they've put down this practice, and they take it back.
And what they say to me is, "These mothers should never have taken their children across the desert, so they broke the law trying to get them into the U.S., so they're criminals. We're separating their children from the parent."
Do they have any idea the impact on families, on children? Probably -- well, maybe they do, maybe they don't. Maybe they don't care.
But the fact is, they should know, and they should lift this policy that they have just put down -- that they put down. They've been cooking it up for a while.
Never mind to them, when we say these moms took these children, these parents took these children to escape possible death, rape, gang violence where they live, and they have no alternative but to try to seek asylum in the United States. No, that -- they know better. They -- they said these words: "We know better. We know how to take care of children. We're taking them away from their parents. We'll put them in foster homes or someplace."
We had a moms' summit here. I don't know if some -- well, maybe you came, or you didn't, but maybe you saw it -- a moms' summit here right around Mother's Day, and we talked about health of children. We talked about a number of subjects.
But on the health of children, Dr. Nadine Burke from the San Francisco Bay area, an expert on all this, told us that when you add stress -- we weren't talking about this subject. We were talking about stress for children in general. When you increase the stress on children the way so many subjects have, whether it's hunger or homelessness and the rest, you are changing -- you have -- can have the impact of changing their DNA.
Think of the stress of these children. They take a baby away from a nursing mother. They tell someone, you're going to -- "We're going to give the baby a shower or a bath," and then they take the baby, put them in a car seat, and drive them away. This is not normal. In fact, it's barbaric. It has to stop.
Now, what they're saying is, "Well, we'll find a way not to separate them." One of their ways not to separate the children is not to let them even seek asylum, which is a right that people have in the world, to seek asylum. So that's not a solution. The solution is not to tear children from their parents.
Don't stick peas up your nose. Don't stick a stick in your ear. What is it that they don't get about how stupid and wrong and immoral, and a -- and the Catholic Conference of Bishops, in their statement when they said, "At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life. The attorney general's recent decision elicits deep concerns, because it potentially strips asylum for many women who lack adequate protection." It close -- they closed by saying, "While protecting our borders is important, we can and we must do better -- must do better as a government and as a society to find other ways to ensure that safety -- that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer, and is immoral."
So the casual attitude that they're having about this: "Oh, no, we don't like that." The administration -- they can weigh in with the administration and stop it on a dime, and not wait for some concoction that really doesn't address the immorality of our lack of asylum.
When we had a hearing on a subject related to this, asylum-seeker refugees, et cetera, the American -- the Association of Evangelicals -- the evangelicals -- testified that asylum -- refugees, asylum, that is the -- they called it the crown jewel of America's humanitarianism.
Crown jewel of American humanitarianism. And in order to do away with that crown jewel, they're doing away with children being with their moms.
This is -- I -- I just don't even know why there aren't uprisings all over the country. And maybe there will be, when people realize that this is a policy that they defend.
It's a horrible thing, and I don't see any prospect for legislation here.
QUESTION: Why not? If you...
PELOSI: Why not? They -- what -- what would we do here? We do nothing. We do nothing. We -- they could -- this could have been something taken up under suspension in a minute, if there was a real sincere effort to do it.
But you don't even need to do it. It's executive action by the -- the attorney general. It can be changed just like that. Just like that.
Watch her full press conference: