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Pelosi: Race is why the GOP is blocking immigration

Immigration Reform Activists Lobby On Capitol Hill
Natividad Gonzalez (C) of Clanton, Alabama, and other immigration reform activists holds signs during a news conference in front of the U.S. Capitol on March 11, 2014 on in Washington, DC.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said racism is part of why some Republicans’ have blocked Democrats’ efforts to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

"I think race has something to do with them not bringing up the immigration bill. I've heard them say to the Irish, 'If it was just you, it would be easy,'" Pelosi said, when a reporter asked if race was a factor in Republicans stances and how they treat the president and others.

Yesterday, Attorney General Holder hinted that he and the president are treated worse because of the color of their skin.

“I think generally speaking, they are disrespectful of the representatives of the president’s administration,” Pelosi said, adding that she didn’t “want to go to that place” about whether the GOP were disrespectful to the president.

Republicans have said they won't handle immigration reform until they "trust" that the president will enforce the immigration laws they pass, saying that his use of executive order to alter the implementation of certain immigration law is eroding their willingness to pass reform.

On Thursday, in a press conference directly after Pelosi's, House Majority Leader John Boehner denied Holder's statements.

"There is no issue of race here” in how House Republicans treated the president and Holder, he said.

But Pelosi's spokesman, Drew Hammill, pointed to the House's legislative record on immigration.

"So far, the only immigration-related votes Speaker Boehner and the Republican leadership have allowed are three anti-immigrant measures," he said pointing to a handful of bills that would force the administration to stop delaying the deportations of the so-called DREAMers—immigrants who came to the country illegally while they were young. 

"Actions speak louder than words," he said.

During her weekly press conference, the California Democrat slammed Republicans for shutting down various legislative debates, like Senate Republicans did yesterday when they blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act from proceeding.

“Why can’t we have a debate on immigration reform? Why can’t we have a debate on pay equity?” she said, adding that Congress wasn’t doing their job if they couldn’t have these conversations and let people make up their minds for themselves.