GUTIÉRREZ JOINS LETTER TO PRESIDENT CALLING FOR PAUSE IN DEPORTATIONS

Dec 5, 2013 Issues: Immigration

"If your child has received DACA, you should not be deported.  If you qualify for legalization under the Senate bill -- a bill the President and the rest of the country supports -- you should not be deported." - Rep. Gutiérrez

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) joined Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and other Members of Congress (Reps. Schakowsky, Rangel, Holt, Titus, Doggett) in releasing a letter from Members of Congress to the President asking him to use his executive power under current law to dial back certain deportations.  The letter, signed by 29 Members, says: "Our efforts in Congress will only be helped by the sensible and moral step of stopping deportations." (Full text here).

Rep. Gutiérrez said, "Let us make sure the right hand of the Obama administration that is working with Republicans and Democrats to pass immigration reform is in sync with the left hand of the Obama Administration that is deporting people at record levels."

Rep. Gutiérrez specifically called for a cessation on deportations for the parents of young people who have received DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and those who would be eligible for legal status under the terms of the Senate bipartisan immigration bill (S. 744) passed in June of this year.  The Senate bill has been endorsed by the President.

Rep. Gutiérrez is the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Immigration Subcommittee.  The following is the text of the Congressman's remarks (as prepared for delivery):

 

Press Conference Remarks

December 5, 2013

I want to thank Raúl Grijalva for organizing this press conference and for correctly saying that we need to put more pressure on the White House to dial back the deportations.  Thank you.

And I have already heard from reporters: 'Hey, Gutiérrez, does this mean immigration reform in Congress is dead?'  My answer is 'No.'  We must fight for immigration reform and fight to stop the deportation of those we want to legalize at the same time, which is what I have been doing for the past five years. 

In March of 2009, I began seeking some form of administrative relief to scale back the deportations.  At the same time I was pushing Congressional Leadership and the President to make immigration reform the top priority.

In early 2011, after we passed the DREAM Act in the House and after the DREAM Act was filibustered in the Senate, despite a majority vote, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus joined me in calling on President Obama to use his vast administrative powers to prioritize deportations of criminals and leave hardworking families and individuals alone.  I was arrested twice in front of the White House while making that point.

In 2011 and again in 2012 and again in 2013, the President took important steps to prioritize the deportation of criminals, using deportations to advance the national interest, and setting the deportation of certain immigrants aside, especially the DREAMers and military families.

Does he have the legal authority to do this?  There is really no debate.  Every significant legal expert -- including the former Republican Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who is a staunch opponent of legal and illegal immigration -- agrees that under current law the President can suspend deportations for certain individuals.

No less than Robert Morgenthau, the respected former Manhattan District Attorney and legal expert, agrees.  In today's New York Times he has a letter to the editor that says,

"President Obama seriously understates his ability to mitigate the effect of immigration law while he confronts Republican intransigence in the House."

He goes on to say:

"The best way to challenge 'know nothings' on immigration policy is to 'do something.' The president should use his discretion, carry out a principled immigration policy and let the House Republicans come to him begging for compromise."

And we are pleading with President Obama to take this advice. 

If your child has received DACA, you should not be deported.  If you qualify for legalization under the Senate bill -- a bill the President and the rest of the country supports -- you should not be deported.

The U.S. is shooting ourselves in the foot at great cost, ripping apart American families, putting our foster care system under stress, and disqualifying the very people we are working to qualify for earning legal status.  Once we deport someone, it is very, very hard to get them back.

So let us make sure the right hand of the Obama administration that is working with Republicans and Democrats to pass immigration reform is in sync with the left hand of the Obama Administration that is deporting people at record levels.

 

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Letter to President Obama