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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

Puerto Rico

I was born in Chicago to parents who migrated from Puerto Rico in the 1950’s and I later returned with them to live on the Island in the 1960’s. As a Puerto Rican member of Congress and someone who represents Puerto Ricans in Illinois' 4th Congressional District, I closely follow issues affecting the Island and my constituents with strong ties there.

More on Puerto Rico

June 7, 2018 Press Release
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.”
May 29, 2018 Press Release
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) released the following statement [with Spanish translation/con traducción a español] in response to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine by Harvard University researchers that estimates the death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria was at least 4,645, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in American history. "Hurricane Maria hit with brutal force for a full day in September 2017, but the subsequent disaster was the federal government’s response to the damage Maria caused. The Harvard study confirms our worst nightmares, predictions and warnings at the time. I was not the only one who knew from the beginning that there was much greater loss of life than the President, the Governor or official sources were claiming..."
March 21, 2018 Press Release
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) released a statement today reacting to news that the Omnibus spending measure will not include any additional help for Puerto Rico, will not include the Dream Act or other relief for Dreamers and those with DACA, and will include more than a billion dollars for border walls and fencing and does nothing to curtail Trump’s deportation force. "I’m voting against the Omnibus because I’m against the continued deportation of hard-working immigrants and families in communities like mine in Chicago. It would be like me voting against the Iraq war and then turning around and voting for military spending to execute that war. I will not vote for funding that continues Trump’s war on immigrants with deep roots who are assets to their community...."
December 21, 2017 Press Release
Today in the House of Representatives, the next installment of hurricane relief funding for Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands along with relief for the California wildfires, is expected to be brought to the House floor for a vote. Given that the partisan package is wholly inadequate to respond to the severity of the disaster and crisis in Puerto Rico, Rep Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) announced he plans to vote against the measure.
December 2, 2017 Press Release
Press Release from Mayor of Chicago: Surpassing its first year goals, the City pledges an additional $1.3 million to support continued legal services for immigrants and refugees in 2018 Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Congressman Luis Gutierrez today joined more than 100 elected officials, community leaders and volunteers to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Chicago Legal Protection Fund. The Fund was established to assist thousands of immigrants and refugees in the City who were threatened with deportation in the post-election era.
November 17, 2017 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman José E. Serrano, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, and Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez, co-chairs of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Task Force on Puerto Rico, today released the following statement in response to reports that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) would submit a disaster supplemental request of $44 billion to help hurricane affected areas, including Puerto Rico: “Once again the Trump Administration has proven it lacks the will to help Puerto Rico in a comprehensive manner. Puerto Rico is facing a serious humanitarian and economic crisis, and now more than ever the American citizens on the island need our help. This supplemental request fails to provide sufficient funding to help Puerto Rico address immediate needs and set itself on the road to recovery. We also understand that it fails to provide a solution to the potentially devastating Medicaid cliff that is currently facing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Moving forward without significant changes will only hinder the Puerto Rican government’s capacity to address the situation on the ground and will contribute to further suffering on the island. We will work with our colleagues in Congress to increase funds in the supplemental and help ensure Puerto Rico and its 3.4 million American citizens have the necessary aid to face this crisis head on. While we understand that OMB plans further supplemental appropriations requests, we believe that more must be done now,” said the co-chairs of the CHC Task Force on Puerto Rico.
November 13, 2017 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman José E. Serrano, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, and Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez, co-chairs of the newly formed Puerto Rico Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, today released the following statement in support of Governor Rossello’s emergency supplemental appropriations request for post Hurricane Maria recovery efforts: “Almost two months after Hurricane Maria, most of Puerto Rico is still in the dark and too many lack access to potable water. While last month’s disaster supplemental was a start in the recovery effort for Puerto Rico, much more needs to be done to help the island address the ongoing crisis in a comprehensive manner. The Governor’s request outlines the scale of assistance that is needed to help Puerto Rico get back on its feet. We are united in our efforts to help the island, and will be doing everything possible to ensure that Puerto Rico fully recovers.”
November 8, 2017 Press Release
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) participated in a hearing on Tuesday in the House Natural Resources Committee where he asked questions of two senior leaders of the Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and management Board, also known as the Junta de Control Fiscal of just the Junta. They were reluctant to answer his questions, to say the least. A video of the Congressman’s questions and answers at the hearing is here: Today, Rep. Gutiérrez wrote to the Chairman of the Junta José B. Carrión, III to express “outrage and dismay” at the performance of the two officials and request that they be fired immediately.
November 8, 2017 Press Release
This morning on the floor of the House of Representatives, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) reported on his third and latest relief trip to Puerto Rico bringing aid from the people of Chicago to the stricken island. During his trip (Friday 11/3 – Monday 11/6), the Congressman visited several towns, including Jayuya and Loíza where he met with local mayors and community leaders. He brought photographs from his most recent trip to illustrate his floor speech this morning. The Congressman began his remarks by saying “I wish I could report that a lot of progress is being made, but I can’t. It is still a disaster that is a stain on the reputation of the United States.” The first picture was of a group of people by the side of a road near Jayuya washing clothes with spring water in a bucket using a toilet plunger. The Congressman said, “This man is a police officer, but he is learning to make do, just like every other Puerto Rican. Everywhere you go, you see Puerto Ricans making do.”
November 7, 2017 Press Release
At a press conference today, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) and Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) introduced the Waiver of Emergency Payments Act (WEPA), a bill to eliminate cost-sharing requirements for Puerto Rico for recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Under current law (the Stafford Act that governs FEMA major disaster assistance), Puerto Rico or any U.S. state or territory would be expected to pay up to 25% of the costs to the federal government of disaster relief. In addition, with certain forms of assistance the Administration has the authority to assume a cost share greater than 75% by waiving a percentage of the state or territory cost share, but such waivers are often time limited and rarely dip below 10%. Under WEPA, if enacted, all cost-sharing would be waived for Puerto Rico in handling the current disaster. The bill does not have an assigned bill number as of this writing. “Puerto Rico was in a dire financial strain before Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria and has struggled every day since the storms made landfall,” said Rep. Espaillat. “Puerto Rico is flat out broke and to require the island to pay for its own recovery is simply outrageous and harsh. We introduced this bill as part of our efforts to continue the call for emergency federal assistance to rebuild Puerto Rico and to ensure the island receives the funding it needs and does not have to pay for its own clean up. It’s simply the right thing to do.” “Puerto Rico needs all the help it can get and should not be constrained in asking for help based on what it can pay back, said Rep. Gutiérrez. “The government of Puerto Rico is already controlled by the financial oversight and management board, known as the Junta. Let’s not mess around with payments and waivers; Puerto Rico should be off the hook, period, punto, when it comes to recovery.”