In an interview with Telemundo over the weekend, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi added her voice to a growing list of Democratic lawmakers and immigrant-rights activists who have been pressuring President Barack Obama to halt deportations of undocumented immigrants.  "We would frankly though like to move on and pass comprehensive immigration reform so that the problem is put to rest," Pelosi said. "In the meantime, 1,100 people, on average, a day, it's just wrong," she added, in reference to the official tally of deportees from the United States.

Two weeks ago, some 40 House Democrats led by Reps. Luis Gutierrez - long a key leader on immigration issues - and Raul M. Grijalva put their names to a letter addressed to the president which urged much the same as Pelosi.  "We cannot continue to witness potential citizens in our districts go through the anguish of deportation when legalization could be just around the corner for them," they saidTheir letter also pointed to the importance of moving "the parameters of the conversation" about immigration reform to emphasize the legalization of the nation's undocumented immigrants - a tenet which has questionable support among Republican rank-and-file in the House.

Pelosi said in the interview that her office had been sharing anecdotes of deportation cases with the Obama administration to emphasize the numbers of non-criminals among their ranks (about 45 percent of deportees, according to official Immigration and Customs Enforcement data). "Our view of the law is that if somebody is here without sufficient documentation, that is not reason for deportation," she said.  "If somebody has broken the law, committed a felony or something, that's a different story. And when those people are apprehended, they are deported. So I don't see any reason for these deportations."

Obama has repeatedly said that he does not have the authority to halt deportations, despite the 2012 program established with executive authority which offered a reprieve from deportation and work authorization for many young undocumented immigrants brought to the country by their parents as children.  When asked if she thought Obama had the authority to offer a similar reprieve to a wider segment of people, Pelosi responded, "Well, I don't know whether he has the authority. But I think that there is discretion in the law as to the implementation, the enforcement of legislation that is calling for these deportations."  She added that there "hasn't been a uniform enforcement of the law", and that she believed he had the power to establish guidelines for "the prosecutorial discretion to say, 'If your only violation is you overstayed or came in in a certain way, that's no reason to split a family.'"

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