(House of Representatives - June 28, 2017)

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[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 111 (Wednesday, June 28, 2017)]
[Page H5237]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                        IMMIGRANT HERITAGE MONTH

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Illinois (Mr. Gutierrez) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. GUTIERREZ. Mr. Speaker, June is Immigrant Heritage Month in the 
United States, but to celebrate that, House Republicans have made this 
anti-immigration week in the Congress.
  The advocates against legal immigration have their annual talk radio 
festival here in D.C. this week to extol the virtues of cutting off 
legal immigration.
  Dozens of conservative talk radio hosts set up remote broadcasts here 
to talk about why criminalizing immigrants and turning misdemeanors 
into felonies is a good thing for America. They may trade stories, 
while broadcasting on the air, about immigrants doing horribly bad 
things to people in America, as if we were in a national crime spree of 
Brown people killing White people.
  The goal of talk radio hosts is to reinforce the anti-immigration 
fever that has gripped the Republican Party and allowed a tough-
sounding game show host to take over their party.
  The main organization behind the gathering of talk radio hosts is 
FAIR, the Federation Against American Immigration Reform, which we 
should note is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law 
Center. That is the organization in Alabama most directly responsible 
for suing the KKK out of the mainstream.
  It is like D. W. Griffith might rise up from his grave to film 
``Rebirth of a Nation--the Sequel'' because FAIR and its allies want to 
take our immigration policies back to the 1920s when the Klan marched 
openly in Washington and legal immigration was reduced to almost zero. 
They want to get rid of anyone here who is deportable or could be 
deportable by passing new laws to criminalize them.
  Now, to coincide with the talk radio anti-immigration week, 
Republicans are putting on a passion play of their own in the House of 
Representatives by bringing two anti-immigrant bills to the floor.
  So we have a coordinated campaign from broadcasters, lawmakers, and 
the anti-immigration advocates to pressure Congress into passing bills 
to paint immigrants as a threat to our national and community safety--
right out of the Trump playbook.
  The question is not whether or not these bills will pass the House--
they will pass--but whether Democrats will be tempted to vote for 
tough-sounding measures because they are afraid to be labeled by 
conservative talk radio hosts as weak on punishing the ``murdering, 
rapist, drug-dealing Mexicans'' they think are lurking in every alley.
  Of course, that is not what these bills actually do at all. Truth and 
talk radio do not often go together--certainly not in the era of Trump.
  Let's look at the two bills Republicans are bringing for a vote.
  One bill is H.R. 3004, named for Kate Steinle, a young woman who was 
shot and killed by an immigrant nearly 2 years ago in San Francisco. It 
happened in July, and as you may remember, I was the first person to 
come to the floor and give a speech denouncing Kate's killer and 
calling for laws that keep people like him off the streets.
  A week later, while talking about various immigration issues in 
Spanish with Telemundo, a quote was included in a story about Kate 
Steinle's killing. After it was aired, rightwing groups circulated it, 
alleging it was proof that I was insensitive to the Steinle family, 
when, in fact, I was not speaking about Kate Steinle at the time, and I 
had already spoken out specifically on Kate's death here on the floor.
  But what is coming to the floor this week would not have kept Kate 
Steinle's killer off the streets. It would have had no impact on that 
case whatsoever. Instead, we are voting on a bill to put other people 
in different circumstances in jail for longer periods of time.
  It is a bait-and-switch strategy: use a horrible tragedy to sell a 
policy that would not have prevented that death so that we put more 
immigrants in jail for longer periods of time and prevent them from 
ever living legally in the United States.
  The other bill, H.R. 3003, is designed to take money away from 
America's largest cities and counties, specifically from efforts to 
fight crime--yes, take money away from them. Grants that would help 
local police fight crime would be eliminated under this bill from 600 
of the country's largest jurisdictions. That doesn't sound like crime 
fighting, because it isn't.
  So why are we doing this? Because Republicans in Washington think 
they have a better idea of how to fight crime than the county 
executives, State legislators, mayors, and local police chiefs. ``Do 
what we say or we will take away your money'' is what the Republicans 
are saying to big cities and counties.
  That is the approach being taken by the conservatives who always talk 
about how State and local people should be trusted more and protected 
from Federal mandates. Well, I guess, not when it comes to immigrants. 
This is why these types of bills are opposed by the National Fraternal 
Order of Police and other police organizations.
  So to all the talk radio hosts and advocacy groups: Why are you on 
the side opposing the National Fraternal Order of Police? And why would 
any Democrat want to cross that blue line to stand with you?