Chicagoland family with dad in deportation is basis for Gutiérrez floor speech
Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–March 13, 2014. Today, during the 10 a.m. hour (ET), Representative Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives about a Chicago family that is typical of the deportation crisis gripping the United States. Liz, a fourth grader, is the youngest of four U.S. citizen siblings who come from “the family you want living on your street,” the Congressman said. But Liz’s father is facing deportation.
A video of the speech is here: http://youtu.be/wKJmGL7sMHM
The text of his speech, as prepared for delivery, appears below.
In his speech, Rep. Gutiérrez noted that the House passed a bill yesterday allowing the House to sue the President of the United States if they feel he is not enforcing the laws they want enforced fully enough, including immigration laws. H.R. 4138, the ENFORCE Act, passed 233-181.
Gutiérrez said: “But the random deportation wheel landed on them [Liz’s family] and according to Republicans, they are willing to sue the President in federal court if he takes action to spare this father of four from deportation.”
The House votes on a related bill (H.R. 3973) today. (Video of Rep. Gutierrez’ floor speech on H.R. 4138 yesterday: http://youtu.be/OdhLfgiW4ZU)
Representative Gutiérrez is the Chair of the Immigration Taskforce of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and a Member of the House Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.
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Rep. Luis Gutiérrez Remarks, March 13, 2014
The young lady in the white dress in this picture is a role model for all young people. Her whole family are role models. They are the family you want living on your street. They always shovel and salt their driveway and their neighbors’ driveway too. Their house is always spotlessly clean and all of the children are on the honor roll.
They make me proud to live in Chicago.
Liz and her three older siblings are all U.S. citizens.
When Republicans say to me that President Obama is not enforcing immigration law, I think of Liz’s face.
When the President says there is nothing more he can do to keep immigrant families together, I think of her face too.
When citizens say to me that it really doesn’t matter whether they vote or not, I want them to think of Liz.
Liz has a father who is facing deportation. He has lived in the United States for more than 20 years and raised a beautiful, healthy, upstanding American family.
“But Luis,” I hear my Republican colleagues say to me, “all of this deportation nonsense is in your head. The Obama Administration is fudging the numbers to make it look like they are enforcing the law.”
But hundreds of thousands of American families are being split up. Over a two year period, according to the Applied Research Center, 200,000 parents of United States citizens like Liz’s parents were deported.
And I hear how my colleagues in the Judiciary Committee talk about Latinos and especially immigrant Latinos. They are all criminals and drug-cartel kingpins. So therefore we have to arrange our entire immigration system as if they are ALL violent felons.
But what about Liz and her family? Liz is not a drug kingpin in her fourth grade class.
Her parents and her siblings are not meth-heads or meth-chemists.
But the random deportation wheel landed on them and according to Republicans, they are willing to sue the President in federal court if he takes action to spare this father of four from deportation.
“But Luis,” I hear my Democratic colleagues say, “for several years, President Obama has instituted programs at Homeland Security to help families, removing non-criminals and parents and DREAMers from the deportation queue.” And indeed, the President and Homeland Security constantly talk about how many gang-bangers and hardened criminals they are removing from the country.
But that doesn’t change the reality for Liz or her family. That doesn’t change the fear that families like Liz’s face every day.
People who have lived here peacefully and raised a proud American family are just a broken tail light — or an unlucky encounter — away from losing everything. Losing their children.
And what about going out and coming back in “the right way”?
Despite 20 years in the U.S. –despite at least four U.S. citizens in his family all willing to petition for him –Congress, two decades ago, made it next to impossible for this family ever to live together in the U.S. legally unless we change the law again.
But Republicans refuse to allow a vote on immigration reform when they know a majority in the House of Representatives — although perhaps not a majority of the Republican Party — would vote to allow families like Liz’s to continue to live together and prosper.
Sorry Liz. Politics is more important than an American family or two, or two hundred or two hundred thousand.
And the President has said he cannot do more to alleviate the fear that American kids like Liz face. The political price of helping Americans like Liz is too high.
It is shameful that the Speaker of the House and the President of the United States are putting politics and election calculations ahead of Liz’s family.
To Liz, the solution is clear. If you will not act, she will. She said recently:
“No child should ever have to be separated from their parents. When I grow up, I want to be a Senator because I want to be in the position to help people when they need it and pass laws that are good for people.”
I wish my colleagues felt the same.
I do not know if she will ever be a Senator when she is eligible to run in 20 or 30 years. But I will tell you one thing I am pretty sure of. In less than 10 years she will be old enough to vote. And her older siblings even sooner than that.
Mr. Speaker, do you think she will remember which party prevented reform or threatened to sue the President if he spares her dad from deportation?
Take a look at this picture.
Republicans are hoping he (dad) gets deported and she (mom) doesn’t ever become a citizen.
But these four are Americans already and will someday have a vote and from the looks of it, will be voting for decades to come.
You do the math.