Saturday, June 22, 2024

Guest Blogger Series: Rep. Luis Gutierrez “On Immigration, Are You a Lamar Smith-John Boehner-Steve King Republican?”

About a week ago, I announced that I would not run for Mayor of Chicago so that I could devote my full time and attention to my vocation: fighting for immigration reform in the U.S. Congress.  My decision not to run was a difficult one.  Being Mayor of Chicago — the city of my birth, my children’s birth, and my grandchild’s birth — has been a life-long dream.  But after consultations with my family, friends, and advisors, and conversations with constituents in the Fourth District, I decided that while there are a number of good people who could lead the City of Chicago, there are fewer people willing to lead the U.S. towards a rational immigration policy.

The next big battle in that fight is the midterm election for which voting has already begun in some places and which continues through November 2.  I just completed another trip to Nevada to campaign for Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democrats and I have made campaign stops in Orlando, Miami, and Cleveland and I have additional campaign trips scheduled before Election Day.  In between, I have been doing my best to make sure as many people as possible in the City of Chicago vote this November, as well.

Voting is the only way to maintain our momentum on immigration reform and to keep the pressure on both political parties.  How this election unfolds — and perhaps more importantly, how it is spun by the punditry — determines whether we get sensible immigration reform quickly or have to wait several more years.

Republicans are making a pretty straightforward wager.  They are betting that if they run ads that show menacing looking Latino men, they can scare people into voting Republican.  Ads airing by GOP candidates in Nevada and Louisiana are the most explicitly race-baiting ads in American politics in a decade.  Even Pete Wilson and Jessie Helms were more subtle in their day.  The scary brown-people motif in English ads is being combined with ads in Spanish actually encouraging people not to vote at all.

What is at stake is clear: the future of our immigration system and the welcome that immigrants and Latinos feel in this country.  Will we have a system that encourages orderliness, legality, assimilation and basic rights or will we continue to maintain the current system of arbitrary restrictions, limited legality, unfair competition, diminished rights, and massive deportation?

On immigration, the question is not whether you are a Pelosi-Obama Democrat, but whether you are a Lamar Smith-John Boehner-Steve King Republican.  When it comes down to it, putting people like Smith-Boehner-King at the helm of national immigration policy is a guarantee of more gridlock and chaos.  Rep. Steve King of Iowa — who makes Jim Sensenbrenner look like Dolores Huerta by comparison — has called for electrified fencing on the border because he has found it effective for controlling “livestock.”  And if the recent past is any indication, we can expect any number of anti-Latino voter intimidation dirty tricks in the coming weeks in addition to the ads telling Latinos not to vote.  We need to make it crystal clear to voters who favor a fair and humane immigration system that a vote for any GOP House or Senate candidate is a vote for the status quo on immigration or worse.

Latino voters, immigrants, Asian-Americans, younger people, pro-union and pro-faith voters — and anyone who cares about civil rights, human rights, and labor rights — have a duty to vote this November on behalf of those who do not have the right to vote and who, if the GOP takes over, may not be able to for many, many years to come.

Luis V. Gutierrez is a Democrat who represents the Fourth District of Illinois in Chicago and has done so since he was first elected to the House in 1992.  He is the Chairman of the House Financial Services Sub-Committee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit and is also Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Task Force on Immigration Reform.  He is the principal author of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act (CIR-ASAP, H.R. 4321), a bill with 103 co-sponsors introduced by Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-TX) in December 2009 that has the backing of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Huffington Post


  1. Betzy Rega says

    As an American of Guatemalan Mayan descent and first generation
    Immigrant. It is clear to say I have assimulated quite well.
    Even my neighbors had no clue that I spoke fluent Spanish until
    I became an activist for immigration Reform. I believe
    Congressman Luis Gutierrez will serve our NATION best by remaining
    in CONGRESS and I thank him for his decision to continue to do so.
    In this Political climate of so many chickens its refreshing to see
    a LEADER stand out…with full understanding of
    HUMAN and MORAL RIGHTS and the true meaning of the AMERICAN WAY..

  2. Gutierrez has been pushing for an open-border policy most of his career. This includes hiding amnesty programs inside such innocuous-looking bills as those involving various farm subsidies.

    Some type of reasonable compromise is in order. Perhaps some type of parole program where illegal immigrants could stay in the US for a few more years and then go back home and apply to become legal immigrants. Which would give them credit for obeying the law for a few years. But to go from illegal right to “path to citizenship” is clearly unreasonable and unfair. And people who support this position need to be discredited.

  3. Luis Leija says

    I am a registered Democrat. I consider myself a more moderate than a liberal. I am all for Immigration Reform. I am an immigrant arriving here in my pre-teen years with all of my family, five of us. My father had come here a few years before as an undocumented immigrant. I believe in the need for comprehensive immigration reform; one that is sensible, just and acceptable by both sides of the issue. My question for Rep. Gutierrez is: at what point do “they” start to send people back? If someone is stop within 1 mile from the border, that person is sent back. What about 6 months? 1 year?

  4. Gutierrez is a dishonorable man. He is an American citizen whose first loyalty is to illegal immigrants based on their race or ethnicity. He threatened to withhold support for Obamacare if there was not a promise to push for “Immigration Reform” In other words , he would not do what his fellow citizen/Democrats thought would be good for the country unless he got what he wanted for his ” brothers and sisters “.Never mind that they had disrespected our people and our laws. Consider who is the RACIST. If Germany were exporting millions of their citizens in violation of our laws, would Gutierrez advocate for their acceptance as citizens ? He would scream the loudest for theor deportation.He is in persuit of one thing; that being what Edward James Olmos, the actor, said when being interviewed on Univision on Aug. 5th. 2001 ” We are going to dominate this country ” Young people, union workers, civil rights groups, gay Americans mean nothing to him unless they are Hispanic. An honorable man would speak what is in his heart.One more thing; why would ANY country think it a good idea to allow 12 to 20 million people who have had to flee a country that they were not able to keep viable. A country fails when it’s citizens are not responsible enough to do their due dilligence.One more thing. Where is Hispanic pride when you must say that you are not able to maintain a successful country of your own, but instead demand entry and citizenship rights from your neighbor. Take a serious look at yourselves and wonder what your future generations will think. They let their own countries fail and then forced themselves on their neighbor.

  5. Ana Curtis says

    Why do we keep letting European immigrants and their descendants call us, the true natives of the American continent “illegal” immigrants? We need to steer the immigration dialogue towards the issue of the effects of colonialism and nation building on immigration.

    Maybe Mexico should be making a claim for the return of its territories. We van talk about proper governance after that.