SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Immigrants who bring their courage and dreams to the United States make "America more American," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as she met with community leaders in San Francisco over the president's recent orders targeting immigrants and refugees.
The San Francisco Democrat told more than a dozen people gathered at a federal building round-table discussion Thursday that immigrants invigorate and strengthen the country.
"That hope, that optimism, that courage, that determination to make the future better for your family, that's an American value. So every immigrant who comes with those ideals makes America more American," she said.
She said the country has some challenges now.
President Donald Trump issued an order to punish cities that provide sanctuary protections to people who are in the country illegally. His administration also is drafting a new order that would limit travel from seven Muslim-majority nations after a previous order was blocked in court.
The president says the moves are aimed at securing the country's borders from potential terrorists and people who do not have legal permission to reside in the country.
The National Republican Congressional Committee agreed.
"Nancy Pelosi believes sanctuary cities 'make us safer.' Americans already knew she was out-of-touch, but assertions like that are ridiculous--even for her," Jesse Hunt, press secretary for the NRCC, said in a statement in response to Pelosi's remarks.
Pelosi's meeting with representatives of organizations that provide legal, social and faith services lasted about an hour.
Dean Ito Taylor of the Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach acknowledged Democrats cannot do much, but they can and should speak up.
"Because when our folks in the community see leaders, even if they're not president, stand up for them, it gives them some hope," he said after the meeting. "It gives them some confidence."