LEESBURG, Va. — The morning after President Donald Trump accused Democrats of treason for not taking action to restrict border crossings, Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed optimism that her party can work with the president on a comprehensive immigration overhaul.
“It’s complicated, but it isn’t hard to do if you have good intentions,” Pelosi said.“And I’m not giving up on the president on this.”
Trump wants to overhaul immigration laws as well, but he and Democrats have vastly different goals. Pelosi, at a press conference during the Democrats’2019 Issues Conference, said she hopes to find common ground with Trump on immigration as well as Infrastructure spending and prescription drug pricing.
The president wants to deport illegal immigrants, further restrict access to asylum seekers and cut down categories of family-based visas available for immigrants to enter the country legally. Democrats want to continue to welcome migrants seeking refuge into the country and find a path for the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country to stay here legally.
It’s a wide gap to bridge on a topic that Trump clearly wants to use to highlight differences between him and his eventual Democratic opponent in the 2020 presidential contest. There’s little reason to believe Republicans and Democrats could work together on even the smallest of immigration matters — let alone a massive overhaul — before then. But Pelosi believes it’s possible.
“I’m always optimistic,” the speaker said. “And this has to happen. It’s inevitable. Again, it’s inevitable to some, inconceivable to others. We have to shorten the distance between the inevitable and the inconceivable.”
Despite expressing hope that the president will come to the table for bipartisan immigration talks, Pelosi also acknowledged that he’s used the topic for political purposes.
“The president is a fearmonger. He fueled the flame of insecurity about globalization, about immigration in the campaign. … But if the economy is better for some of these people, I think that fear tactic will be diminished,” she said.
By Lindsey McPherson for ROLL CALL
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