Congressman Gutierrez Calls on Community to Continue Pressure for Bipartisan Immigration Reform

Rallies on Oct. 5 and Oct. 8 Will Put Pressure on Republican Leaders to Lead

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–September 20, 2013.  Two Texas Republicans, John Carter and Sam Johnson, Members of the House “Gang of Seven” negotiating a bipartisan immigration reform deal, announced today that they were withdrawing from the group, as expected.  Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), also a Member of the group, in an interview with Washington Post Plum Line blogger Greg Sargent posted Friday, predicted the announcement and indicated “The bipartisan group just wasn’t getting support from Republican House leadership…It’s just not gonna happen now.”  Rep. Gutiérrez remains optimistic that a bipartisan way can be found to move legislation forward, and feels it is now more important than ever for supporters of immigration reform to make their voices heard.

“There are rallies planned in 90-plus cities across the country on October 5 and we will see an outpouring from the community demanding a serious effort by Republicans to get immigration reform moving in the House,” said Rep. Gutiérrez, who will be speaking at a rally in Washington on the Mall on October 8. 

“It is clear the bipartisan group’s work was not being embraced by Republican Leaders, so this allows us to put the focus squarely on Speaker Boehner and his lieutenants to decide if they are serious about reform and if so, to do something more than talk.”

Congressman Gutiérrez met with Republicans and Democrats on immigration reform in Washington on Thursday, including meetings with Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and centrist Democrat Henry Cuellar (D-TX).

“I was encouraged by my meeting with Chairman Goodlatte and Henry Cuellar that conservatives and centrists still want to move forward and Democrats remain more unified behind reform than ever,” Gutiérrez said.  “I am optimistic, but Republicans need to decide if they want to play politics to energize their base or solve problems to help their country.  Whether it is immigration reform, food stamps, or a government shutdown, they are playing narrow-cast politics to the far right, not legislating with the good of the nation in mind.”

The Congressman is disappointed with the apparent demise of the bipartisan group in the House, telling the Washington Post “We had agreed on virtually everything.”  But he had high praise for his Republican partners and hopes the work they produced as a group eventually can be incorporated into a bipartisan compromise that gets a bill passed in the House.

“John Carter, Sam Johnson, and Mario Diaz-Balart put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into our group and are among a few dozen Republicans I think will be critical to successfully getting a solution out of the House.  Right now things are partisan and polarized and Carter and Johnson took a shot at President Obama in pulling out of the group, but everyone knows there are two critically important reasons we need to pass immigration reform.  One, our commitment to justice, our security, our economy and the growth of our nation require a modern immigration system based on the rule of law and both parties understand we need legislation to get us there.  Secondly, there are enough sensible Republicans who understand that the future of their party depends on getting this issue resolved.”

The Congressman continued: “I have been saying for weeks and nobody has made any effort to contradict me: The votes exist in the House today to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship.  Almost all of the Democrats and a few dozen Republicans are ready for a vote if the Speaker allows it.  The vast majority of voters support immigration reform, but Republicans in the House seem to be the only group who cannot get it together.”

“We may have a divided government, but we need a unified solution.  I think the call on Oct. 5 and Oct. 8 will be so loud, it will be hard for House Republicans to continue stalling.  The devastation of deportations, the frustration with inaction — all of it is unsustainable.”