House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hugs office cleaner Silvia Mota after meeting with local advocates for immigration reform at 32BJ-headquarters on March 31, 2014 in New York City. A discharge petition was launched last Wednesday by House Democrats, demanding a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. The contentious issue has returned to the spotlight ahead of the November elections. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hugs office cleaner Silvia Mota after meeting with local advocates for immigration reform at 32BJ-headquarters on March 31, 2014 in New York City. A discharge petition was launched last Wednesday by House Democrats, demanding a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. The contentious issue has returned to the spotlight ahead of the November elections. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says race is major factor in House Republicans’ refusal to take up an immigration reform bill in Congress.

“I think race has something to do with them not bringing up the immigration bill,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday. “I’ve heard them say to the Irish, ‘If it was just you, it would be easy,” Pelosi told NBC News.

Pelosi’s comments reflect what a commonly held belief on Capitol Hill, which is that because immigration reform is framed as a Latino issue nationwide, many Republicans who come from districts with a small number of Hispanic people don’t have an incentive to back it.

Onlly 84 percent of House Republicans represent a district that has a Latino population larger than 20 percent.

The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill last summer but House Republicans have resisted taking up that measure or any alternatives.

Republican leaders have also argued that the party does not trust President Barack Obama to enforce the law as passed.

 

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