The Washington Times - July 19, 2013, 01:17PM

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday that supporters of comprehensive immigration reform have public sentiment on their side.

The California Democrat said Americans should encourage their House members to bring an immigration bill to floor so it can be reconciled with comprehensive reform that’s already been passed in the upper chamber. The Senate has already passed a very ambitious overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws.

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“I never underestimate the strength and the voice of the American people, and so any way they can make their voices heard in August, of course, would be very positive,” she said at her weekly press briefing. “Again, overwhelmingly, there is support in the country for comprehensive immigration reform.”

Ms. Pelosi said she received a letter from 93 Catholic university presidents and academics, who argued the U.S. immigration system is broken and “morally indefensible” and must be reformed. Besides religious groups, she cited support for reform from the law enforcement and business groups.

House Republican leaders have pushed a piecemeal approach to immigration reform, with a focus on border security.

Some Senate Republicans and observers have pushed for a path to citizenship in the final bill, saying it is the only way the GOP will gain traction among Hispanic voters, an increasingly important part of the electorate.

“President Lincoln has said, ‘Public sentiment is everything.’ I say that, too, quite a bit. I say that to my members,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “The only reason the Senate passed a bill, [was] because they had their epiphany when 75 percent of Hispanics voted Democratic in the last election.”