REP. GUTIÉRREZ: DEMOCRATS TAKING STEPS ON IMMIGRATION AS REPUBLICANS PLAY POLITICS
“I Am Going From Town To Town and State To State”
Washington, DC – Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke on the House floor this morning (approximately 10:00 am ET) about his efforts to get the country ready to sign up for various aspects of the immigration executive actions announced by the President in November. Rep. Gutiérrez said he will be traveling the country “doing outreach events to educate the community of immigrants and also to mobilize the multitude of allies at the state and local level who will help millions of our immigrant neighbors come forward and register.”
He said that while Republicans are going to “play politics and play to the talk radio audience” on immigration, Democrats at “the White House and our side of the aisle are actually taking steps on immigration that will address the anxieties of the talk radio audience and not just enflame their frustrations.”
The Congressman is travelling to Providence, RI on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 for an event with Congressman David Cicilline and local leaders and elected officials. It is the first stop on a tour that includes events in and around Chicago and events in a half-dozen states, so far.
The video of the Congressman’s speech today is here: http://youtu.be/hkisyjkc210
The text, as prepared for delivery, is pasted below.
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez represents the Fourth District of Illinois, is a Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, and is the Chairman of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ
January 8, 2015
If you live in Rhode Island, Texas, New York, New Jersey or Florida, I am looking forward to seeing you in the coming weeks. And my friends in North Carolina and South Carolina, too.
When I am not here or in my District in Chicago I have a half-dozen events lined up there over the next few weeks -- I am going to be going from town to town and state to state talking with people about the President’s immigration executive actions and what it means for them, their families and their communities.
In congregations, in community centers and schools, and with local elected officials, I will be doing outreach events to educate the community of immigrants -- and also to mobilize the multitude of allies at the state and local level who will help millions of our immigrant neighbors come forward and register.
And I will not be alone in this effort. Next week I will be with the distinguished gentleman from Rhode Island, David Cicilline, and with his Mayor in Providence holding an event to get people the information they need so they are ready to sign up.
From Charlotte to Houston to Los Angeles, my colleagues here in the House are pulling together events to educate their own communities and I hope to attend as many as I can.
Evangelical congregations and the Catholic Church and the Archdiocese in Chicago are stepping up to organize and host events and begin laying the groundwork for millions of the people who work and live and raise families in the U.S. to come forward and pay to be temporarily spared from deportation.
Labor unions, corporations and small businesses that want to help families remain together are preparing too.
And Mayors. Lots of Mayors!
Apparently, when Mayor Rahm Emanuel of the City of Chicago steps forward to say he will help facilitate the enrollment of families and individuals with the federal government, other Mayors say “me too.” And good for them.
We can all help by playing a role in implementing the immigration executive actions taken by the President that will help millions of people.
Congress refuses to pass laws that channel people into legal immigration with visas and Congress refuses to address millions of people who have lived and worked here for a decade or more. And they refuse to address any meaningful enforcement like E-Verify or at the borders and ports of entry because they would rather play politics and play to the talk radio audience.
But at the White House and on our side of the aisle, we are actually taking steps on immigration that will address the anxieties of the talk radio audience and not just enflame their frustrations with the current mess. Remember, not doing anything at all – the Republican strategy -- is the de facto amnesty.
We are going to make sure that millions of American citizens can live with their family members and that we will not place American citizens in Foster Care by the thousands because we are deporting their parents.
We are going to make sure that more of the employment and tax base of the country is on the books, working legitimately for employers who have to follow rules.
And that employers will not get to pick between a legal job market and an illegal one that is not protected by labor laws, wage protections, safety regulations, and tax compliance.
We are getting accurate information out to people to tell them that what the President announced is not immigration reform. It is not permanent but a small step in the right direction and it is within the confines of current law.
As I said during the last Congress and I am repeating today, I will work with anyone in either party that has a legitimate idea on how to make our immigration system more secure, more legal and more orderly.
Most of my fellow lawmakers in this body support legal immigration and to make progress we need to break with the group opposing legal immigration in the Republican Party.
We need a modern visa system that takes America beyond the current system crafted in the 1980s and 1990s.
We need modern enforcement with an electronic verification system that replaces a paper-based system of documentation.
We need modern border security that works hand in hand with modern visa and enforcement systems so that we channel traffic through ports of entry where commodities, cargo and people are inspected efficiently.
More militarization, more deportation, and narrower legal immigration channels have not given us greater control over the immigration process and has led to a number of problems.
If you are serious about border security, legalization, enforcement and legal immigration, then my door is always open. Tell me what you need to move forward. More fences? More high-tech visas? More immigration judges? Tell me what it will take to get this Congress out of the current rut.
In the meantime, I and a lot of my colleagues are going to be out there around the country protecting American families from destruction and protecting millions from deportation.
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