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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

Gutiérrez on Kelly Meeting, Government Shutdown & Immigrants Trump Doesn’t Want…Unless They’re From Norway

January 18, 2018
Press Release
“There comes a time when if you say you stand for justice, you have to actually take a stand & hold it & not back down. That’s what Democrats are going to do this week. We’re not going to back down.”
Issues: 

Washington, DC – Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives this morning to discuss what he learned about family immigration, bipartisanship and the fate of the Dreamers in the meeting yesterday between the President’s Chief of Staff and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), the Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and the Democratic Whip.  In discussing immigration and the potential for a government shutdown with General John Kelly, the Congressman learned what bipartisanship and families mean to the President and his Chief of Staff, both for people from and Norway and not from Norway.  And the Congressman said he is more confident in the unity of Democrats to stand up for a solution for the Dreamers than ever before.

The Congressman said that unity among Democrats to help Republicans avoid a government shutdown this week was strong, but it will only work if Republicans work with Democrats to release the 800,000 Dreamers Republicans are “holding hostage.”

Republicans might not need our help, because you’re the majority party, we’re the minority party.  But just in case you do need our help in getting a budget approved, I want you to know that we are ready to stand to help keep the government open and to approve a budget. 

But what I learned from the meeting with General Kelly that everybody should understand is that Democrats are more united than ever before.  If you [Republicans] want to take the help – our help – on the budget, you’ve got to release the 800,000 Dreamers you are holding hostage.  You’ve got to do it.

And Rep. Gutiérrez expressed his confidence that Democrats would stand strong:

There comes a time when if you say you stand for justice, you have to actually take a stand and hold it and not back down. And that’s what Democrats are going to do this week.  We’re not going to back down. 

The Congressman started his remarks by observing that the Chief of Staff – in stating that he and the President support a “merit-based” immigration system – was basically telling the CHC that their parents and ancestors were the wrong kinds of people and were a burden to the country.

[Kelly] was saying, you know, I’m meeting with a group of Congressmen, but you really shouldn’t be here, because your parents are really tearing the country apart and bringing it down.

And that’s exactly what they want to stop, with the merit-based system, unless of course the immigrants come from Norway, then they can continue to come.

He also noted that “the party of family values and the party of Donald Trump” where being hypocritical in wanting to eliminate parts of the family-based immigration system.  Saying of the President’s businesses:

Here’s an organization where the dad created the business, handed it down to the son, and his son is going to hand it down to his children, but they don’t want immigrants to do exactly the same thing and follow the same course that has been so successful for the President of the United States.

General Kelly also tried to make the case to the CHC that when Members of the Republican Party work with Members of the Democratic Party, that is not bipartisanship. 

Only a Senate deal between people who believe in immigration and those who don’t believe in immigration and want to end the immigration system as it is – unless you come from Norway – that’s the only way it’s bipartisanship.

He reiterated his bottom line in his conclusion:

Need our help?  Release the 800,000 Dreamer you hold hostage.  And guess what, we are ready to pay a handsome ransom for their release.

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: https://youtu.be/5DFjTUvYAts

Floor Remarks

January 18, 2018

Mr. Speaker, interesting meeting yesterday with General Kelly.  Twenty-five Members of Congress, almost all of whom are descendants of immigrants who came here with nothing – whose parents came here with nothing – sat down with the Chief of Staff to the President of the United States and he said basically, we were the wrong kind of people in America. And that people like our parents that came here to this country really are bringing the country down.  Because when he says he is for a merit based system of immigration, he’s saying he’s not for people like my mom and my dad being able to come to this country.

But interestingly because all of us whose families came to this country because of family-based immigration system wound up being Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

But he was saying, you know, I’m meeting with a group of Congressmen, but you really shouldn’t be here, because your parents are really tearing the country apart and bringing it down.

That is really what he means when he says he wants to replace the system we have with a merit-based system.

And that was very telling in the meeting yesterday.

But, we Democrats want a system that is family-based, that’s the system that Democrats want, because we believe that businesses are started by immigrant families and it is essential for their families to be united as they come to this country so that they can achieve American success and together, all of us can achieve the American dream.

And that’s exactly what they want to stop, with the merit-based system, unless of course the immigrants come from Norway, then they can continue to come.

We hear this from the party of family values and the party of Donald Trump – who even employs his children at the White House.  The Trump Organization – just think about it – here’s an organization where the dad created the business, handed it down to the son, and his son is going to hand it down to his children, but they don’t want immigrants to do exactly the same thing and follow the same course that has been so successful for the President of the United States.

And here is something else we learned from the Chief of Staff: That when people from one party work with people from another party, that’s not bipartisanship, the General said.  Bipartisanship as defined by General Kelly and this White House is when people with completely different and opposite views of the world work together.

So only a Senate deal between people who believe in immigration and those who don’t believe in immigration and want to end the immigration system as it is – unless you come from Norway – that’s the only way it’s bipartisanship.

That’s like saying if a Republican and a Democrat work together on an environmental issue, it’s not bipartisanship because it is a Republican and a Democrat.  Unless the Democrat and the Republican are a person that believes in climate change working together with a Republican who thinks climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese.

You know what kind of legislation you get? You get nothing.  You get a stalemate.  You do not move the agenda forward, but that is their definition of bipartisanship.  And that’s what we learned at the meeting yesterday.

Look, Democrats and Republicans are working together – Senator Graham, Republican, Senator Durbin, Democrat – they put a proposal on the table and the President rejected it.

That includes, just so we are clear, Democrats giving up things that are unprecedented in that Senate deal that was put on the President’s desk. 

And Members of the Hispanic Caucus meeting with General Kelly cannot fathom supporting the Senate deal.  But guess what, that’s bipartisanship.  That’s what it comes down to.

Which brings us to the votes this week. 

Republicans might not need our help, because you’re the majority party, we’re the minority party.

But just in case you do need our help in getting a budget approved, I want you to know that we are ready to stand to help keep the government open and to approve a budget.  But what I learned from the meeting with General Kelly that everybody should understand is that Democrats are more united than ever before.

If you want to take the help – our help – on the budget, you’ve got to release the 800,000 Dreamers you are holding hostage.  You’ve got to do it.

Democrats aren’t going to blink.  We’re going to stand by our values.

There comes a time when if you say you stand for justice, you have to actually take a stand and hold it and not back down.

And that’s what Democrats are going to do this week.  We’re not going to back down. 

Need our help?  Release the 800,000 Dreamer you hold hostage.  And guess what, we are ready to pay a handsome ransom for their release.

Thank you.

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