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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

REP. GUTIÉRREZ ON LATEST ANTI-IMMIGRANT AMENDMENTS TO DEFENSE BILL: “IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE, HE’LL ASK FOR A GLASS OF MILK”

May 14, 2015
Press Release

Gutiérrez tells GOP: “If you give the restrictionists a vote or a hearing

on every crazy idea they come up with, you will be

relegated to being a provincial party…”

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) addressed the House of Representatives during the morning hour (approximately 10:00 am ET) about the latest amendments ruled in-order for today’s debate on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 

One amendment approved by the Armed Services Committee would authorize a study of immigrants in the military and the other expresses a sense of Congress for the Secretary of Defense to look at policies related to the service of DREAMers with deferred action – temporary protection from deportation.  The amendments, approved by the Rules Committee last night for consideration today, would strip these two provisions.  Rep. Gutiérrez used a popular children’s book to make his point about the appeasement strategy the Republican Leadership has taken with regards to its anti-immigration, nativist wing.

The children’s book, “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie…” by Laura Joffe Numeroff (Harper Collins, see: https://youtu.be/Gyk55GYnGl0) says that if you give a mouse a cookie, he will probably ask for a glass of milk. 

The Congressman said, “Anything you give the little mouse is going to lead to a new and bigger request and that must be what the Speaker of the House feels like with his nativist wing.”

He explained:

If you give them a record number of deportations, they will ask the Speaker for a vote on quicker deportations of vulnerable children.  If you give them the vote for quicker deportations for children, they will demand a vote to deport all DREAMers who have permission to work legally.

And if you give them the vote on deporting DREAMers, they will ask for a hearing on amending the Constitution to eliminate birthright citizenship. 

And then at some point they will demand that every single reference to anything related to immigrants without papers – even a research project – be declared an amnesty and stripped from legislation.

He concluded, “At some point, I respectfully suggest you cut off the mouse’s supply of cookies.”

A video of the Congressman’s speech is here: https://youtu.be/rONbFbRoQ24  (C-SPAN: https://cs.pn/1PIvuS9)

His remarks as prepared for delivery are pasted below.

The NDAA bill and the amendments to strip the two mild amendments related to immigrants serving in the military, will be debated later today.

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 Co-Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. 

 

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

May 14, 2015

Later today, the House will consider amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, the bill that tells the military what to do with all the money we give them.

In the committee of jurisdiction over the military -- the Democrats and Republicans whose job it is to examine these issues -- they voted to include two studies of how immigrants are – or are not – included in military recruitment.

Republicans are in the majority, so on a Republican-led and Republican-majority committee, these two amendments won their votes and were added to the bill.

But no matter how many times Republican Leaders have appeased the hardliners on the fringes of their right flank -- to disastrous consequence -- they have chosen to capitulate one more time and ruled last night that amendments to strip the bill of these reasonable studies will be go forward.

It is another glaring example of why the Republicans – from their Presidential nominee all the way down to their local government candidates -- are in very, very deep trouble when it comes to the immigration issue.

One amendment simply asked the Secretary of Defense to study the impact of letting immigrants who grew up for years in the United States, who have passed a criminal background check and who have a legal work permit  -- it asked the Secretary of Defense to study whether including them in military recruitment would help diversify our military.

The second did not call for any action, but simply stated that it is the “Sense of Congress” that the Secretary review whether recipients of deferred action for childhood arrivals be allowed to serve in the military. 

That is the program where 700,000 young immigrants came forward to get right with the law and got a work permit – after they passed a criminal background check.

But do you know what the Secretary of Defense “reviewing” something is – when it comes to the hardliners? 

Do you know what “studying” something related to immigrants who have deferred action is to the nativists?

Do you know what the contingent of hardcore anti-immigration guys in the Republican Conference started shouting?

You guessed it: “The A-Word, Amnesty.”

I have the language right here:

“It is the sense of the House of Representatives that the Secretary of Defense should review…”

Members of Congress from Alabama to Iowa to Texas began throwing around the amnesty attack.

It’s a “backdoor amnesty.”

We shouldn’t “reward” “illegal aliens” who want to risk their lives to defend their adopted country when there are red blooded Americans who want to fight. 

Breitbart, in one article a couple of days ago used the word “amnesty” 20 times in less than 1400 words while ticking off the Members who might lose elections to more anti-immigrant candidates if the two studies are allowed to be included in a Defense bill.

It reminds me of the story of the Little Mouse that I read to my grandson, Luisito --the same story you probably read to your kids or grandkids.

It goes: if you give a Mouse a Cookie, he is going to ask for a glass of milk.  And if you give him a glass of milk, he’s going to ask for a straw. 

Anything you give the little mouse is going to lead to a new and bigger request… and that must be what the Speaker of the House feels like with his nativist wing. 

If you give them 30,000 more border guards, Mr. Speaker, they will ask for more deportations. 

If you give them a record number of deportations, they will ask the Speaker for a vote on quicker deportations of vulnerable children.

If you give them the vote for quicker deportations for children, they will demand a vote to deport all DREAMers who have permission to work legally.

And if you give them the vote on deporting DREAMers, they will ask for a hearing on amending the Constitution to eliminate birthright citizenship. 

And then at some point they will demand that every single reference to anything related to immigrants without papers -- even a research project – be declared an amnesty and stripped from legislation.

If you give a mouse a cookie, he will want some milk.

And if you give the restrictionists a vote or a hearing on every crazy idea they come up with, you will be relegated to being a provincial party with power in the House, but little ability to influence or even occupy the Senate, the White House, or the Supreme Court.

At some point, I respectfully suggest you cut off the mouse’s supply of cookies.

 

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