Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

Tearing Apart Latino Families Is an Election Year Strategy of this White House Designed to Energize Republican Voters

June 7, 2018
Press Release
At the Border, in Immigration Raids, in Puerto Rico, the Republican Party’s Real Commitment to ‘Family Values’ Is on Display

Washington, DC – Today on the House floor, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) told House Republicans that “tearing apart Latinos families is an election year strategy from this White House designed to energize Republican voters for primaries and midterms” and that House Republicans, as the beneficiaries of this strategy, have given up their right to invoke family values ever again.  In a fiery speech that touched on the new policy to take children from their parents along the border, the recent series of immigration workplace raids, and the deaths of more than 4,500 Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria, the Illinois Congressman said “please don’t ever come to the well of this House and tell the country that you support family values.  Don’t you dare.”

Hundreds of children have been taken from their parents in a new Trump Administration policy to deter asylum-seekers coming legally from Central America, and hundreds of children, most under age 12, are languishing in Border Patrol stations for longer than the law requires.  And more than 11,000 children are said to be in the system designed to accommodate unaccompanied minors, but an oversight hearing with the Secretary of Homeland Security scheduled for the Judiciary Committee today was abruptly cancelled.  Rep. Gutiérrez observed:

The White House thinks Latinos are not really human beings so we can treat them however we want and it doesn’t matter, after all, it’s not like they are coming from Norway. The President and Attorney General say they are “illegals,” which is…a lie and they know it.  People fleeing violence and systematic rape and murder can come to the U.S. and ask us for political asylum and it is 100% legal under the laws of the United States. 

The Congressman continued:

Every one of us knows that taking a child from a mother is morally wrong except in the most extreme cases.  In this country’s history, we sold millions of black children because they were considered property during slavery and we stole Native American children from their families to strip them of their culture because we labeled them as savages.  Most people think these are among the most shameful chapters in American history. 

Rep. Gutierrez repeated the phase “most people,” before going on to say:

But we all know how the President feels about Latino children. He says they are “not so innocent,” so I guess he thinks they are programmed to turn into the people he calls animals and rapists because of where they were born.

He noted recent immigration raids in Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee and Iowa, and he is scheduled to meet with people impacted by the raids in Tennessee and Iowa later today (see separate media advisory). 

The Illinois Congressman who has made at least nine trips to Puerto Rico since the hurricanes hit in September, continued:

Let’s not forget that while almost 5,000 Puerto Ricans were dying – and still are dying – your President was giving himself an A-plus and saying there had been no real catastrophe, all while families were telling us of the loved ones they were losing because they didn’t have electricity or medicine.

He summed up his message by saying:

So to my Republican colleagues, some of whom I love dearly, please don’t you ever come to the well of this House and tell the country that you support family values.  Don’t you dare.  Your time talking about family values is over.

A video of the Congressman’s remarks is here: https://youtu.be/h--VDRyPG0I

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez is the Dean of the Illinois delegation and a thirteen-term Member of Congress from Chicago.  He is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Floor Remarks

June 7, 2018

Mr. Speaker…

I do not want to hear another Republican Member of Congress come to this microphone to speak about family values ever again.  I don’t want to hear about protecting families or honoring families or putting families first because each and every time a Republican invokes family values on this floor, it will be a lie.

And a cruel lie at that.

If you want to run on the President’s record to keep your job so you can feed your family, part of the price is that you have zero credibility when it comes to family values from now until forever.

Along the Southern border, hundreds of children have been taken from their parents and hundreds have been held in border stations without sleeping rooms or adequate bedding for several days in violation of federal laws to safeguard children.

We are told the number of children in the care of the agency we put in charge is now above 11,000, but we do not know for sure because the government, our government, your government, is not telling us what is really going on and an oversight hearing with the Secretary of Homeland Security scheduled for today in the Judiciary Committee was cancelled. 

Hundreds of children in the care of border patrol, most of them under the age of 12, and 11,000 total in the system. 

The White House thinks Latinos are not really human beings so we can treat them however we want and it doesn’t matter, after all, it’s not like they are coming from Norway. 

The President and Attorney General say they are “illegals,” which is also a lie and they know it.  People fleeing violence and systematic rape and murder can come to the U.S. and ask us for political asylum and it is 100% legal under the laws of the United States.

Every one of us knows that taking a child from a mother is morally wrong except in the most extreme cases. 

In this country’s history, we sold millions of black children because they were considered property during slavery and we stole Native American children from their families to strip them of their culture because we labeled them as savages.  Most people think these are among the most shameful chapters in American history. 

Most people.

But we all know how the President feels about Latino children.  He says they are “not so innocent,” so I guess he thinks they are programmed to turn into the people he calls animals and rapists because of where they were born.

According to the White House Chief of Staff, the children at the border will “be put in foster care or whatever.”

And the Attorney General says he believes the children will be well taken care of “for the most part.”

Forgive me if I do not put much stock in national leaders whose concern for children includes the terms “or whatever” and “for the most part.”

So, Republicans, please do not ever come to this floor and claim that your party supports families and defends children.  You have lost all of your family values privileges.

This afternoon, I will meet families that were broken up because the meatpacking plant where the parents work was raided in April by ICE and Tennessee State Troopers.

Please tell them about your family values. 

We don’t provide legal ways for their parents to come here because Republicans oppose legal immigration, but employers need workers and those parents are under constant threat of arrest, deportation, and never seeing their children again. 

The owners of the plant that employed them?  As far as we know, nothing has happened to them and they are probably going to enjoy dinner with their families tonight.

Last week in Chicago and this week in Ohio, a few hundred more working people were rounded up and their children, most of whom are U.S. citizens, are left without their parents.  In Pennsylvania, it was restaurant workers; in Iowa it was a concrete plant.

Tearing apart Latino families is an election year strategy of this White House designed to energize Republican voters for primaries and midterms this year to reelect Republican Members of the House and Senate.

And let’s not forget that while almost 5,000 Puerto Ricans were dying – and still are dying – your President was giving himself an A-plus and saying there had been no real catastrophe, all while families were telling us of the loved ones they were losing because they didn’t have electricity or medicine.

So to my Republican colleagues, some of whom I love dearly, please don’t you ever come to the well of this House and tell the country that you support family values.  Don’t you dare.

Your time talking about family values is over.

# # #