“I do not doubt that Ryan supports sensible immigration reform, but some in the GOP will try to disqualify anyone who supports what the majority of Americans support.”
Washington, DC –-(ENEWSPF)–October 23, 2015. Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) said he is sad to hear that a condition of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) seeking the support of his conference to be elected Speaker of the House was to pledge that there will be no votes on immigration reform as long as President Obama is in the White House. While there were no real expectations that a vote would occur during the 114th Congress, the fact that Rep. Ryan had to make that promise is, for Rep. Gutiérrez, a further sign of the depth of the Republican Party’s Latino voter and immigration problems.
The following is a statement by Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez:
I have worked closely with Paul Ryan for years on the immigration issue and I know he supports sensible, bipartisan reform, just like most Americans and most Members of the House. But in order to secure GOP unity, he has had to throw aside his personal views on immigrants and immigration to appease the most vocal and most animated opponents of immigration in his party.
Immigration is an issue that still divides Republicans, as it once divided Democrats. What unites Republicans is being against President Obama and so such statements are an unfortunate necessity for GOP leaders.
As a person of faith, a person of conscience, and a person who deeply believes in American exceptionalism, Paul Ryan supports legal immigration and getting immigrants already here into the system so we can improve enforcement and secure the rights of working people and employers. I do not doubt that Ryan supports sensible immigration reform, but some in the GOP will try to disqualify anyone who supports what the majority of Americans support.
In a nutshell, this inability to support legal immigration and legality for immigrants is at the heart of the Republican Party’s national problem and why they will be shut out of the White House for the foreseeable future. The coalition of women, African-Americans, Asians, gays and lesbians, environmentalists, young people and Latinos that the Republican Party rejects has formed an ironclad majority that will keep them out of the presidency. And that goes well beyond the immigration issue to almost everything related to civil rights, women’s rights, and treating working people decently.
In reality, Ryan has been 100% consistent, as the recent documentary on PBS FRONTLINE demonstrates, that border security must come first, that legalization not be amnesty, and that House Republicans will only move forward with approval of a majority of the majority; precisely what we had achieved in the House before Majority Leader Cantor lost his primary and threw the whole GOP into the turmoil we continue to live with today.
It is a shame that House Republicans demand such pledges from their leaders, but not a surprise. The country needs immigration reform, the country favors immigration reform overwhelmingly, but House Republicans remain one of the only groups of Americans dead set against a functioning legal immigration system.
Rep. 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. He was one of the main subjects in the PBS FRONTLINE and Independent Lens documentary “Immigration Battle,” a film by Michael Camerini & Shari Robertson, which aired on Tuesday, October 20.