Rep. Gutierrez Floor Speech on Immigration, Executive Action and the President’s Resolve

“The Republican Party’s goal of forcing this President to deport all the non-citizens they want deported will simply never be achieved until the Republican Party elects one of their own to the White House.  And the strategy of the Republican Party…pretty much guarantees that one of their own will not get to the White House any time soon.”

Washington, DC –(ENEWSPF)–February 26, 2015.  Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Congress.  He discussed the President’s Town Hall on immigration and executive action on Telemundo and MSNBC last night and also discussed the consequences of the Republican Party’s continued efforts to make the President deport DREAMers and long-term residents of the United States who are the parents of U.S. citizens.

Excerpt:

“No matter how many lawsuits are filed, how many symbolic votes are held in Congress, or how many federal agencies are shut-down, there is nothing the Republican Party can do to force the President of the United States to deport DREAMers or go after the parents of U.S. citizens if they have no criminal record and have lived here a long time.”

And:

“This is what my [Republican] colleagues fail to appreciate when they stand alongside the hardliners and the opponents of legal immigration: in their zeal to deport non-citizens, Republicans are hurting themselves with citizens.”

A video of the Congressman’s speech (delivered at approximately 10:00 am ET today) is here: http://youtu.be/P571_1DijMg

The text of the Congressman’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, is pasted below.

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez represents the Fourth District of Illinois, is a Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, and is the Co-chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. 

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Rep. Gutiérrez Floor Speech, February 26, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the President for speaking directly to the American people on immigration last night in a Town Hall on Telemundo and on MSNBC.

He was very clear that he will comply with the dictates of the judicial branch even as he fights a federal judge’s temporary injunction in the courts and is prepared to appeal those rulings all the way up to the Supreme Court if necessary. 

The President will follow the law – as he has been doing — and comply with the injunction.

But let me be clear to my Republican friends and to the American families impacted — for now — by the court’s actions.  Nothing about the injunction compels the President to deport anyone he has identified as a low priority for enforcement.

No matter how many lawsuits are filed, how many symbolic votes are held in Congress, or how many federal agencies are shut-down, there is nothing the Republican Party can do to force the President of the United States to deport DREAMers or go after the parents of U.S. citizens if they have no criminal record and have lived here a long time.

And the Republicans know there is nothing they can do to force the President to deport the five million people he has protected.

For years Congress has only provided enough funding to deport 4 percent of the total undocumented population, or 400,000 people a year.  Clearly we in Congress know that only a small percentage of people will be targeted by our limited enforcement resources, because that is the law that we made.

For all the talk about a rogue or imperial President, he is actually doing the job we asked him to do: to spend the limited enforcement resources we appropriated on protecting the Homeland by deporting the worst of the worst. 

Not on DREAMers, not on the parents of U.S. citizens who have strong ties to this country and decades with no criminal background.

And the DACA program for DREAMers announced in 2012?  That is still in place and renewals are happening right now, as we speak. Six-hundred and forty thousand strong.

So under the enforcement priorities and under the DACA program, it is clear to me — and I want to make it clear to everyone at home — that the President has no plans to deport DREAMers or the parents of U.S. citizens who have never been involved in crime.

Now, I know firsthand after numerous efforts to negotiate across the aisle that the majority of the country and the majority of the Republican Party would like to have a functioning legal immigration system.

BUT, the impression the Republican Party is leaving with the American people – the only solution the Republicans are offering — is that they demand the deportation of DREAMers and the deportation of the parents of 5 million American citizens who would be protected by the President’s executive actions.

This is what my colleagues fail to appreciate when they stand alongside the hardliners and the opponents of legal immigration:  In their zeal to deport non-citizens, Republicans are hurting themselves with citizens.

In my District in Chicago, just like the rest of the country, there is no caste system where people who were born in the U.S. never mix with people who were not. 

There are no differences between the people who came with visas, the people who overstayed visas, the people who never had a visa to begin with, and the people who were born U.S. citizens. 

When we celebrate the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving, believe it or not, we eat at the same table.

The undocumented are a part of our families, live in our neighborhoods, attend our churches, and are in classrooms with our children.

What the Republican Party fails to see is that when they call for the deportation of DREAMers and long-term residents, they are calling for the deportation of our family members, our neighbors, and our classmates. 

Don’t forget, most Latinos in America are not immigrants but are U.S. citizens.

So it should come as no surprise that when the 1 million or so Latino U.S. citizens turn 18 this year, they will not think fondly of the Republican Party —the Party that is bent on deporting members of their families and their communities.

Ninety-three percent of Latinos under age 18 are U.S. citizens.  They will not have a warm and fuzzy feeling about the Party that fought tooth and nail to throw out their moms and dads.

And the 5 million U.S. citizens whose parents are undocumented – who worry every day about whether their families will remain intact – they are going to remember which political Party was cruel to their moms and dads, using them as scapegoats and insinuating they are all criminals bringing diseases. 

The Republican Party’s goal of forcing this President to deport all the non-citizens they want deported will simply never be achieved until the Republican Party elects one of their own to the White House. 

And the strategy of the Republican Party — forcing this President to deport all the non-citizens they want deported — pretty much guarantees that one of their own will not get to the White House any time soon.

Source: gutierrez.house.gov