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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

Gutiérrez Travels to Puerto Rico Friday to See the Damage & Call Attention to the Crisis

September 28, 2017
Press Release
“Whatever it takes to rescue people, whatever it takes to airlift people to safety, to open hospitals and get them food and water, it has to happen right now.”
Issues: 

Washington, DC -- Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) will fly to San Juan from Chicago early Friday morning and plans to return to Chicago on Sunday.  He will both travel within the San Juan Metro area and go out of the city to see for himself the damage caused by Hurricanes Maria and Irma and assess why relief is not flowing to the people of Puerto Rico quickly enough.

“It has been more than a week and basic aid like food, water, medicine and fuel isn’t getting where it needs to be to help people,” Rep. Gutiérrez said.  “We can’t allow inaction in Washington to create a humanitarian crisis for 3.4 million American citizens in Puerto Rico.  I won’t sit back and watch TV as another crisis like Katrina in New Orleans unfolds.  These are our people and they need our help right now.”

Rep. Gutiérrez has helped with Chicago-area relief efforts that have already sent a planeload of supplies to San Juan and is coordinating that relief with the Mayor of San Juan.  He has been a vocal opponent of the Jones Act and has called on the U.S. military to do more to help in the relief effort.  He speaks at a 10 am ET press conference in Washington this morning with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats calling for swifter federal response (link to live stream online here).

“Finally, the White House is beginning to wake up, taking temporary action on the Jones Act and upping the military presence, but it took a while and more is needed right now,” Rep. Gutiérrez said.  “Whatever it takes to rescue people, whatever it takes to airlift people to safety, to open hospitals and get them food and water, it has to happen right now.”

Responding to reports that FEMA and the White House were delaying official trips by delegation of Members of Congress, Rep. Gutiérrez said, “Soy Boricua, no necesito permiso.  I’m Puerto Rican, so I don’t need anyone’s permission to go.”

Note: The Congressman is flying commercially to San Juan and will speak to interested reporters at O’Hare airport before he leaves (he is booked on UA1996, Friday, departing ORD 7:50 am CT | arriving SJU 1:30 pm AT).  He will speak to interested reporters upon his return to Chicago (he is booked on UA841, Sunday, departing SJU 2:30 pm AT | arriving ORD 6:35 pm CT).

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, who is the Chicago-born son of Puerto Rican migrants, is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

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