February 11, 2014 - Issue: Vol. 160, No. 25 — Daily Edition113th Congress (2013 - 2014) - 2nd Session
IMMIGRATION REFORM; Congressional Record Vol. 160, No. 25
(House of Representatives - February 11, 2014)
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[Page H1723] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] IMMIGRATION REFORM The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Gutierrez) for 5 minutes. Mr. GUTIERREZ. Mr. Speaker, on Sunday morning, I tweeted out a message to the 30,000 people who follow me on Twitter. The tweet said: The GOP doesn't determine when the fight for immigration reform ends. We will continue to fight for a bill in 2014 because that is what is right, what is fair, and what is best for the USA. I sent this because many in the pro-immigration reform community thought they heard Speaker John Boehner giving up on immigration reform in 2014. That is not what I heard, but many in the community and in the press heard it that way. I wanted to make it clear that the immigrant community and the huge movement behind immigration reform--business, clergy, and everyone else--are just not going away. We are not taking ``wait,'' ``maybe,'' and ``no'' for an answer. By now, every time Speaker Boehner says anything about immigration reform, the press and the pundits go crazy. Even if it isn't clear what exactly the Speaker said, a good percentage of the press runs out and writes obituary number 247 for immigration reform. What I heard the Speaker say last week was that getting immigration reform passed in the House would be hard. Tell me about it. I also heard the Speaker say at his news conference that the House ``needs'' to get immigration reform done this year, and he is right. Then I heard the Speaker say that the GOP doesn't trust the President of the United States. Really? Despite 2 million deportations and the lowest rate of illegal immigration in recent decades, the House GOP doesn't believe President Barack Obama will enforce immigration laws. Well, I have been working on this for a while, and, first of all, you are right. It is hard. For more than a decade, I had to work on my own party to get them behind substantial immigration reform, but the Democrats are ready now--and ready to help you, Mr. Speaker, pass a bill. The movement will help supporters of immigration reform in the House GOP Conference work to convince their members that moving forward to actual legislation is not only the right thing to do from a justice perspective, from a law and order perspective, and from an economic perspective, but the right thing to do from a political perspective. Mr. Speaker, when you said the House needs to pass a bill, boy, are you right. Nobody believes the Republican Party can elect anyone for President unless you find some way to neutralize the damage you have done to yourselves with your deportation-only approach to immigration. The immigration issue doesn't just hurt you with Latino voters. It has hurt you with Asian and younger voters, too. There is simply no math that adds up to 270 electoral votes unless the Republican Party stops getting slaughtered by 30, 40, or 50 points among the largest-, fastest-growing groups of voters in this country. It gets only worse with each passing day, with another 2,000 Latino citizens turning 18 every day and becoming eligible to vote. Speaker Boehner knows this is the best chance his party has of getting the immigration issue off the table before 2016, and I believe he plans to come back to immigration reform. The cost to the GOP politically is just too high if the GOP-controlled House blocks legislation this year. You thought the Super Bowl was a blowout last month? Wait until November 2016 if immigration reform is still hanging out there undone. You can tell the babysitter you will be home by 10:30 on election night. The contest will be over early. It will be Democrats in the White House by a landslide. This notion, Mr. Speaker, that President Obama cannot be trusted to enforce immigration laws just doesn't make any sense to anyone who follows the issue. Every day, day after day, week after week, and year after year, people are being ``disappeared'' by our immigration enforcement machine. Another 1,100 today--and tomorrow. Where is the generosity of spirit in that? This lax, liberal, soft- heartedness you seem to imagine, I wish you could tell that to the estimated 5,000 children currently in foster care because their parents are in detention or have already been deported. Tell them how soft Obama is. I am going out to suburban Washington this evening to talk with immigrants and advocates at Casa de Maryland. I don't expect I will hear very much praise for President Obama's enlightened approach to deportation and detention tonight. They are not waiting patiently for Speaker Boehner or anyone in the Republican Conference to make up their minds about whether or when to start legislating on this matter. I know they are not taking ``maybe'' or ``not now'' or ``no'' for an answer. Mr. Speaker, you are not going to be spared. Kids will keep showing up to interrupt your breakfast as long as their parents are facing deportation and their communities are being ripped apart. Mr. Speaker, you can't deport your way out of this. You can't ignore your way out of this. You can't blame Obama for your way out of this. You must act for the good of the country. ____________________