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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

Under Trump, If You Look Like the King of Wakanda, You’re Not Welcome

March 7, 2018
Press Release
“Trump’s immigration approach is pretty simple: If you are white, you’re alright. If you are brown, you are lower down. And if you are black, just go back.”
Issues: 

Washington, DC – Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) says President Trump’s “approach to immigration is pretty simple: If you are white, you’re alright.  If you are brown, you are lower down. And if you are black, just go back.”  He also said that if you look at the medal winners in the Winter Olympics, which he described as “snowhole countries,” you get a pretty good idea of the countries from which Trump wants to accept immigrants.  Rep. Gutiérrez pointed to the example of Slovenia, the winners of two Olympic medals in PyeongChang, as a country on Trump’s OK for immigration list.  The evidence is the First Lady’s parents who utilized what Trump derides as “chain migration” to come here and are soon to become citizens, as reported by the Washington Post.  This was Rep. Gutiérrez’s second day in a row addressing the House from the floor on immigration, noting that we have passed the deadline to enact legislation to protect Dreamers with DACA without action, but today’s remarks were somewhat more tongue in cheek. 

The Congressman noted that it is clear President Trump does not care for certain immigrants, like Dreamers, refugees and those he deems as having come from “shithole countries” (he was admonished by the Speaker Pro-Temp for repeating the President’s “profanity” on the House floor).  But, Rep. Gutiérrez said:

As we all know by now, Trump prefers immigrants from ‘snowhole countries’ like Norway.  Yep, you take a look at the Winter Olympics leader-board of the countries that won medals and that is a pretty good list of who Trump wants to have here. Norway, check. Canada, check. Netherlands? OK. But we better add Russia.

The Congressman went on to address the President’s hypocrisy when it comes to legal immigration:

The other group of people Trump is particularly angry about are the family members of U.S. citizens and those who are on the path to becoming U.S. citizens…Which is kind of strange, because he does not have to look very far to find an immigrant American citizen who petitioned – legally – for her parents to come to the United States.

Rep. Gutiérrez was referring to the First Lady’s family, but they are from the Winter Olympic bronze and silver medalist country of Slovenia, which makes them OK in Trump’s eyes.  And according to news reports, the First Lady obtained an “extraordinary ability” or “Einstein visa” when she worked in the U.S. as a model.  This, along with the investor visa that Jared Kushner’s creditors are thought to be possibly seeking by leveraging the First Son-In-Law’s massive foreign debt, led the Congressman to say:

Yes, in America, if you have a million dollars or you look like a million dollars, you can get a visa.  But if you look like a parking attendant or a busboy or a field hand or the King of Wakanda – in the eyes of our President, you are not welcome.

The Congressman concluded that his own family’s story is an example of the American Dream being achieved by migrants of modest means and education and that this more closely reflects the values we should enshrine in our immigration system. 

My mother came from Puerto Rico with a 5th grade education and Puerto Rico has never won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.  But guess what…Her daughter is a public school teacher and her son is a Congressman and that is what the American story is all about.

A video of the Congressman’s remarks is here: https://youtu.be/iS2qqpbvMwI

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Floor Remarks

March 7, 2018

Yesterday, I talked about the immigrants Donald Trump doesn’t really care for, like the Dreamers who were raised in the United States and are now vulnerable to deportation.  Then, there are refugees from war and religious persecution.  He doesn’t really care for them either. 

Let’s see, there are the people from El Salvador or Haiti or Africa – the people from shithole countries.  Trump would rather deport than protect them.  And he doesn’t want them coming legally either. 

As we all know by now, Trump prefers immigrants from ‘snowhole countries’ like Norway.  Yep, you take a look at the Winter Olympics leader-board of the countries that won medals and that is a pretty good list of who Trump wants to have here.  Norway, check.  Canada, check.  Netherlands?  OK.  But we better add Russia.

President Trump has been blocking any kind of immigration legislation because he will only agree to, say, protect Dreamers from deportation, if he can eliminate whole categories of legal immigration.

And not just any immigration, but specifically the programs that are filled with people who want to come to the United States legally from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. 

He is especially opposed to diversity in our immigration system and among the programs he insists we eliminate is the one most often used by immigrants from Africa, the Diversity Visa Program. 

So Trump’s immigration approach is pretty simple:  If you are white, you’re alright.  If you are brown, you are lower down.  And if you are black, just go back.

The other group of people Trump is particularly angry about are the family members of U.S. citizens and those who are on the path to becoming U.S. citizens.

He insists that we need to take away the rights of U.S. citizens – to petition for their immediate family.  Nope, Trump thinks U.S. citizens cannot be trusted to petition for their own family members.

Which is kind of strange, because he does not have to look very far to find an immigrant American citizen who petitioned – legally – for her parents to come to the United States. 

According to the Washington Post,

“The parents of first lady Melania Trump have become legal permanent residents of the United States and are close to obtaining their citizenship, according to people familiar with their status… Immigration experts said [they] very likely relied on a family reunification process that President Trump has derided as ‘chain migration’ and proposed ending in such cases.”

But the in-laws are from Slovenia and that country won two medals at the Winter Olympics, so I guess they are OK.

Let us remember that the First Lady is here because she applied for and received an “extraordinary ability visa” which is often called an Einstein visa because we give it to Nobel Prize winners.

But we also give the Einstein visa to musicians and artists…and models. 

The First Lady’s extraordinary abilities are many, I am sure. 

Now, I want you to recall that one of the issues in Jared Kushner’s security clearance was that he owes so much money to foreigners that some people might be able leverage that debt into an application for another visa program just for millionaires and fat cats.

Yes, in America, if you have a million dollars or you look like a million dollars, you can get a visa.

But if you look like a parking attendant or a busboy or a field hand or the King of Wakanda – in the eyes of our President, you are not welcome.

Look, let me break it down from my perspective.  That is not the country we aspire to be.  My mother came from Puerto Rico with a 5th grade education and Puerto Rico has never won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.  But guess what.  Her daughter is a public school teacher and her son is a Congressman and that is what the American story is all about.

Not special treatment.  Not special programs just for the rich and the beautiful.  And not special fast-tracking for the President’s family, especially when he is going after so many other people’s families who look like mine.

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