Gutiérrez Floor Speech on Budget Deal Without DACA
Washington, DC – Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives this morning to voice his opposition to the Senate budget and spending deal the House is expected to vote on today. The two-year deal does not address those with DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program the President has ended, nor the Dream Act (HR 3440). Rep. Gutiérrez has consistently said since September that he will not vote for budgets, spending resolutions or other “must-pass” legislation that fails to protect the Dreamers who are becoming vulnerable to deportation. During his speech this morning, the Congressman also called out the President and his staff for their characterizations of immigrants in the State of the Union address and elsewhere. Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
A video of the Congressman’s remarks is here: http://cs.pn/2EtML7a
Floor Remarks (Transcription via C-SPAN)
February 8, 2018; approx. 9:05 am ET
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
We sat here and heard the president's state of the union address in which he spoke about immigration and immigrants. Couple of things I want to highlight.
No, Mr. President, not all immigrants are, A) Latino, and not all immigrants, Mr. President, are members of organized gangs, MS-13.
I know you don't want to be fair and didn't want to talk about the immigrants that are doctors, healing people every day in our hospitals. The immigrants that are teachers educating Americans every day in our schools. The engineers that are innovating and creating new infrastructure that keep us safe and keep us modern in America.
No, you don't want to even talk about the millions of immigrants that toil in our fields without papers, without documentation. And we know and we see the fruit of their labor, both literally and figuratively speaking when we go to our grocery stores.
Who do you think does that work; does that hard work in the fields?
People born American citizens? No. People who have come here.
But we didn't want to talk about that.
Then you went on to say after you criminalized immigrants and made them these scary people who come to rob and to maim and to murder, then you went ahead and said, and by the way, those who come here legally sponsored by their relatives, by their parents, by their brothers and sisters -- their brothers and sisters, by their immediate family members, they, too, pose a threat.
You said, Mr. President, they come here as immigrants and then they sponsor an unlimited of distant relatives.
Well, last time I checked in my personal life, my wife, who you can sponsor, is a pretty close relative to me. My children and my parents. Those are the only people -- those are the only people you can sponsor. Yes, parents, children, and your spouse. But you said they were unlimited.
So if that's a lie, what part of what you said was true? Well, virtually nothing. Because if the underpinning of one of your arguments is shown to be false, then what is true?
And then this week we saw this administration go from calling immigration -- immigrants criminals to saying they are just downright lazy.
No. I say to the Chief of Staff of the president of the United States, the Dreamers are not lazy. They may be afraid because it was an executive order which many of them feared a new president might revoke and put them in jeopardy. That's true.
But lazy they are not.
They scraped together the $500, went through the background checks not once but twice and thousands of them three times in order to get what you today want to take away from them, their ability to work and to live freely in this country with nothing from the government.
And so, if you didn't think the criminalization of immigrants was wrong, if you didn't think the demonization of them as hordes of people who can bring unlimited number of distant relatives, that lie was wrong, if you didn't think calling them just lazy was wrong, no.
No, you know what I see. Barack Obama said he saw people that were inculcated with the same values that he saw in his own children. I want to go one step further than that. I don't see my children in them. I see fellow Americans.
I see fellow Members of the House of Representatives, and I know that scares the hell out of a lot of Americans that that could be, but it shouldn't because that's the way forward and they are going to come and they are going to be integrated because we are going to get them the one thing that they need -- that piece of paper -- because they're Americans. They're serving in the armed forces and dying for us today. Serving in the armed forces and they're working and they're healing.
Why can’t we let people that are doctors and lawyers and people that are nurses and people that are in the armed forces stay? They've been through the background checks.
Because that's not the kind of America some of us want to see in the future.
So today, they are going to bring over from the Senate a proposal, they are going to lift the caps and they're going to say, let's vote on our budget. Well, I say to everybody -- don't collude with this administration. Vote against the budget.
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