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Latino Daily News

Friday January 31, 2014

Gutiérrez: A Long Way To Go, But Republican “Standards” Move Us A Little Closer to Reform

Gutiérrez: A Long Way To Go, But Republican “Standards” Move Us A Little Closer to Reform

Photo: Luis Gutierrez

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“The details really matter and I have not seen anything concrete from the Republicans so I am not in a position to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to anything… I think we are getting a little bit closer and that bodes well for the future. ” Rep. Gutiérrez

Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL), issued a statement in response to the release of the Republican “Standards for Immigration Reform,” a document of principles that House Republicans are debating at their retreat in Maryland this week.  Rep. Gutiérrez is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Immigration Subcommittee and is the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.  The following is a statement from Rep. Gutiérrez:

We have gone from the Republicans saying ‘self-deportation’ and ‘veto the DREAM Act,’ to saying we need bipartisan solutions in just about a year.  And we have gone from some Democrats saying immigration is too difficult an issue to handle to saying we need bipartisan solutions in just a few years.  We are now talking about how people stay and how they come legally, not how we kick out 11 million people and build a big moat around the country.

Nobody in Congress is talking about immediate citizenship for everyone and no one still talks about mass deportation for everyone.  We can find common ground that allows millions to eventually apply for citizenship, legalizes millions who are working and contributing to the country, and puts our economy, our security, and the legality of America’s workforce on solid ground.

The details really matter and I have not seen anything concrete from the Republicans so I am not in a position to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to anything.

I am concerned with stopping the deportations, not erecting any new barriers to applying for citizenship, protecting the rights of working people, be they immigrants or U.S. born, and making sure we don’t turn our local police into enemies of immigrants in our communities.  There is a long way to go and we all need to carefully evaluate actual legislation, but the principles are a first step.

Citizenship is very important, to me, to Democrats, and to the American people.  Turning immigrants into American citizens over time has been the tradition in the U.S. and it has worked very, very well for more than 200 years.  If you are a citizen, you are “all-in.”  You have all the rights, but just as important, all the obligations and responsibilities we share as citizens.  I want immigrants incorporated and integrated into our society and citizenship is a part of that process.

The most important first step from the point of view of immigrants is to stop the massive increase in deportations.  It is devastating, breaking up families and painting a target on whole communities in Illinois and elsewhere.  We deport more than 1,100 people per day, putting parents in detention and children in foster care.  Everyone knows we should stop wasting money and lives deporting working-class people and families.

The Senate passed a bill with strong bipartisan support and the House should do the same.  I think we are getting a little bit closer and that bodes well for the future.

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