Back in 2014, there was a surge of unaccompanied minors along the Texas border. The crisis stemmed in part from smugglers who convinced thousands of Central Americans that the Obama administrations’ new deferred action policy was a free pass for children entering the country.
As Jeryl Bier pointed out today on Twitter, at the height of the crisis, Rep. Nancy Pelosi traveled to a detention facility in Brownsville, Texas which was overwhelmed with child migrants. After visiting the center, Pelosi gave a press conference in which she described what she’d just seen as “dazzling – a sparkling array of God’s children, worthy of respect.”
During a Q&A that followed, Pelosi was asked whether the humanitarian crisis was being “politicized.” “Well, I hope that while some may have tried to politicize it, I hope that was not the case,” Pelosi said. Responding to a question about border security, Pelosi added, “I’m not going to take any bait on what one partisan said or the other.” “Why don’t we just put all that aside and talk about what we’re going to do to help these children and families,” she said.
“So again, people will say this and that,” Pelosi said. “The fact is, the reality is: the children are there and we need to address the problem. It breaks your heart to waste one ounce of energy on anything other than just addressing the problem.”
In short, let’s fix this problem and not turn this into a partisan battle. Here’s a photo from 2014 of the conditions Pelosi had seen:
The message back then was that this shouldn’t be politicized. She literally couldn’t stand the idea of wasting one ounce of energy on politics. What mattered was to deal with the problem at hand. That was then but more recently Pelosi seems to have taken a different tack. After visiting a detention facility containing children in San Diego, Pelosi gave another press conference:
Our message to Mr. Trump is, stop this inhumane, barbaric policy, rescind your actions and take responsibility for it instead of blaming it on other people…
Well, if you want to psychoanalyze the President, there aren’t enough hours in the day for that.
But, I will say that the more the public speaks up about this because as we said, this isn’t about immigration. This is about humanity. It’s about family. It’s about who we are as a country.
Granted these situations aren’t perfectly parallel, but in both cases the results were similar, i.e. immigrant children, many without their parents, crowded into U.S. detention facilities. In one case, Pelosi hesitated to even call it a crisis and hoped no one would waste time politicizing it. In the other, she wasted no time politicizing it herself. Here’s a report from 2014 on Pelosi’s visit to the detention center in Brownsville: