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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

Gutiérrez Puts Out Call for Help Defending Dreamers, DACA and Immigrants

July 19, 2017
Press Release
“Fighting for DACA and fighting to keep millions of people in this country who have put down roots and built lives here is going to be a people’s fight – and the effort to find ways to protect families and cope with more than a million people being pushed into the black market requires us to organize in every community.”
Issues: 

Washington, DC – On Wednesday in a speech on the floor of Congress, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) issued a call to action to resist the Trump Administration’s plans to turn 1.2 million immigrants with documents into undocumented immigrants in the coming weeks or months by ending the DACA program and TPS.  He also announced he would participate in a community meeting this Saturday in Chicago to strategize – and begin the organizing process – and invited diverse allies to join the effort.

“Fighting for DACA and fighting to keep millions of people in this country who have put down roots and built lives here is going to be a people’s fight,” the Illinois Congressman said.  “And the effort to find ways to protect families and cope with more than a million people being pushed into the black market requires us to organize in every community.”

He spoke specifically of teachers, environmentalists, and those who have stood up to bathroom laws and fighting discrimination in all its forms to join the effort, which starts in Chicago with an initial strategy meeting open to the public at Lincoln United Methodist Church (2009 W 22nd Place at S. Damon, Chicago, 60608) at 2:00 pm Saturday (July 22).

“If you marched with your pink hat at the Women’s March, I am asking you now on behalf of immigrants and the very future of immigration to stand with us….At airports across the country we stood up for refugees and said no to Trump’s Muslim ban, we need you. Black Lives Matter, we need you and frankly, we need each other. People are going to peacefully stand up and fight for justice, common sense, and what is right – and we need everyone to be there with us, helping us, walking with us.”

The speech was a call to action, an invitation to diverse allies to stand with immigrants and their families to resist the latest and most serious anti-immigration actions coming from the Trump Administration.  Rep. Gutiérrez said:

“It is up to us to teach each other how we will resist this latest insult – in our congregations, in schools and universities, in cities and neighborhoods.  And immigrants or people who have DACA or TPS cannot do this on their own, but they need to be part of the coalition that fights back.” 

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a program in which 800,000 young immigrants are enrolled, is facing a court challenge from Republican leaders and could be terminated in September if the Trump Administration, as expected, does not fight back.  TPS (Temporary Protected Status) has given at least 400,000 people the ability to live and work legally in the U.S., but the Department of Homeland Security has indicated strongly that they will let TPS expire for the ten countries that have it now.

Congressman Gutiérrez concluded by saying:

“The road ahead is not going to be easy, but we have fought hard to win victories for our country, and for the DREAMers, who are the leading edge of our movement to make immigration legal again.  Now is the time.  We need your help to protect families and communities and what is right.  And we cannot do it alone.”

A videotape of the Congressman’s floor speech is here: https://youtu.be/P7d2FIXzUhU

The text as prepared for delivery is pasted below.

Rep. Gutiérrez is in his 13th term representing the Fourth District of Illinois.  He is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and is the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Remarks

07/19/17

Mr. Speaker, it looks almost certain that the Trump Administration is going to take about 1.2 million immigrants who currently have documents issued by the U.S. government and turn them into undocumented immigrants.

They have work permits and pay their full share of taxes.  They are covered by U.S. labor laws and they are not undercutting the wages, wellbeing and livelihood of native-born American workers. 

For all intents and purposes, they are documented workers in the U.S. and many have been here for more than two decades.

Nevertheless, the more than 400,000 people with Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, and the 800,000 with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, could be made undocumented in the coming weeks and months.

Then, once they are categorized as undocumented, President Trump will unleash ICE and Homeland Security to go after them so that they can be deported.

There are 800,000 young people who went through a thorough background check and have been complying with the rules of the DACA program for almost 5 years.

They were brought here as children and grew up in the United States, went to our schools, played sports with our kids, and they speak English, many times better than you or I do.

They came forward, as they were told to, and we actually reduced the population of undocumented immigrants, got people on-the-books, and were able to redeploy our resources elsewhere.

Now it appears that the leaders in the Republican Party who do not like the idea of so many immigrants having legal status are giving the President an ultimatum: Deport the DREAMers or we will sue. 

The Governor of Texas, who is leading the charge, has a very sympathetic judge and it is up to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to put up a fight when he himself has been trying to kill legal status for immigrants for years. 

So practically speaking, between ending DACA and ending TPS, we are talking about dumping another 1.2 million people into the pool of 10 to 11 million people who are living and working here under-the-radar, outside of legal protections and without any way to become legal.

So this Saturday in Chicago, at 2:00 pm, at Lincoln United Methodist Church on Damon, we are getting together to organize ourselves to fight back. 

Yes, there will be legislation from Democrats and maybe even Republicans to fight back.  And there will be court cases to fight back even if the Attorney General does nothing.

But fighting for DACA and fighting to keep millions of people in this country who have put down roots and built lives here is going to be a people’s fight – and the effort to find ways to protect families and cope with more than a million people being pushed into the black market requires us to organize in every community.

It is up to us to teach each other how we will resist this latest insult – in our congregations, in schools and universities, in cities and neighborhoods. 

And immigrants or people who have DACA or TPS cannot do this on their own, but they need to be part of the coalition that fights back. 

Teachers who work with kids every day and bear witness to the fears students face –everyday – about their parents and families, they cannot do this alone, but they need to be part of the coalition that comes together to resist. 

Employers will face a choice: whether they are just going to roll over while employees are ruled ineligible and work documents are terminated, or to stand with us and stand with their workers and fight for them.

So, if you marched with your pink hat at the Women’s March, I am asking you now on behalf of immigrants and the very future of immigration to stand with us.

If you marched for science or the environment, if you have joined us in protesting bathroom laws and discrimination in all its forms, your brothers and sisters need you now. 

At airports across the country we stood up for refugees and said no to Trump’s Muslim ban, we need you.

Black Lives Matter, we need you and frankly, we need each other.

People are going to peacefully stand up and fight for justice, common sense, and what is right – and we need everyone to be there with us, helping us, walking with us.

In Chicago, it starts this Saturday afternoon at 2 at Lincoln United Methodist Church in Pilsen.

The road ahead is not going to be easy, but we have fought hard to win victories for our country, and for the DREAMers, who are the leading edge of our movement to make immigration legal again. 

Now is the time.  We need your help to protect families and communities and what is right.  And we cannot do it alone.

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