In order to keep pressure on Congress to pass an immigration bill dealing with national security as well as the plight of illegal immigrants in the U.S., Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) will launch an ``aggresive'' citizenship drive.
Last week, I did a Luis vs Lou column and blog post....about how Gutierrez' appearence with CNN's Lou Dobbs a week ago might have triggered fireworks--but did not.
Dobbs very kindly noted the Sun-Times coverage on his show Wednesday. He opined that the reporter--hey that's me!-- was ``obviously devastated'' that the two had ``not gone down to the level fisticuffs'' over the issue of illegal immigration.
GUTIERREZ TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE TO ANNOUNCE NEW INITIATIVE TO
KEEP PRESSURE ON LAWMAKERS TO ENACT COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM
COALITION TO LAUNCH AGGRESSIVE NATIONWIDE CITIZENSHIP DRIVE
Campaign designed to harness the strength
and power of massive marches through
nationwide citizenship workshops
WHAT: U.S. Representative Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.), chair of the
Democratic Caucus Immigration Task Force, will be joined by local lawmakers,
representatives from community based organizations and a diverse group of
immigrant and labor leaders at a press conference Monday, April 17, 2006, at
10:00 a.m., to announce a new initiative designed to keep pressure on
lawmakers to enact comprehensive immigration reform.
In an effort to build on the strength and importance of the recent rallies
and massive marches, Rep. Gutierrez will work with event organizers and
elected officials across the country to create an aggressive nationwide
According to the Wall Street Journal, "The heated political debate over
immigration has sent foreigners who legally live in the U.S. scrambling in
record numbers to find out how to become citizens." In Chicago, Rep.
Gutierrez has helped more than 40,000 individuals on the path to permanency.
He will utilize the best practices of his citizenship workshops in Illinois
to create a nationwide campaign to help legal permanent residents across the
country to achieve the American Dream. Based on statistics from the
Department of Homeland Security, eight million immigrants are currently
eligible for citizenship.
WHEN: Monday, April 17, 2006, at 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: Casa Aztlán (1831 S. Racine Ave., 2nd Floor)
WHO: U.S. Representative Luis V. Gutierrez, local lawmakers,
representatives from community based organizations and immigrant and labor
LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
My next guest was not one of the Democrats who voted for the Sensenbrenner
legislation. Congressman Luis Gutierrez helped organize a protest, in fact,
against the legislation and brought 100,000 people out on to the streets of
Congressman Gutierrez, chairman of the Democratic Immigration Task Force
joins us here tonight from Chicago. Good to have you with us, congressman.
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: Thank Lou. It's a pleasure to be with
DOBBS: By the way, I just should point out, I saw an article in one of your
papers there in Chicago -- I think "The Sun Times" -- lamenting the fact
that the last time you were here a week ago that you and I had not gone down
to the level of fisticuffs in trying to beat one another senseless on the
issue of illegal immigration.
GUTIERREZ: I wasn't lamenting that, Lou. I just said, isn't it great we
didn't go there?
DOBBS: You're right. You're absolutely right.
GUTIERREZ: That we can have a discussion. I was -- actually, I said, look,
we had a great discussion. We had a great talk. Let's keep talking about the
future of America together.
DOBBS: No, I was just -- and I thought you were
-- and I certainly second your comments. I just thought it was funny that
the reporter was obviously devastated that you were...
GUTIERREZ: The editorial, yes.
DOBBS: You know, giving us both that opportunity, let's go to the issue.
DOBBS: The demonstration, we have seen some growth in the organizers of
these protests and demonstrations, far more American flags and even though
some of them are upside down, far fewer national flags.
But now there's a call -- I don't know if you were able to see it, but as we
reported from Los Angeles tonight, Nativo Lopez, a large number of
organizations are now calling for May 1 as a nationwide boycott to
demonstrate the power, the economic power, of illegal aliens in this
Are you going to be supporting that? Do you believe it's the right thing to
GUTIERREZ: I really don't, Lou. To be quite honest with you, I'm not
appraised of the situation. I don't know what -- I know that there was a
boycott of a certain beer because they were supporting Mr. Sensenbrenner,
and the beer company kind of came to their senses and said, we'd love to do
these additional things with the immigrant community.
And boycotting and saying, we're not going to sponsor those that we don't
believe are helping us, is a pretty long-standing American tradition. So if
it's that kind of a boycott against the enemies of those -- I mean, people
shouldn't -- I think in America...
DOBBS: I can put you down...
GUTIERREZ: ... my dollars. Excuse me.
DOBBS: I can put you down under undecided or a maybe then in terms of the
boycott and the protests.
GUTIERREZ: Well, I'm a definite maybe.
DOBBS: All right, well fair enough.
Congressman, let's talk about the Sensenbrenner legislation. Both your
majority -- the speaker of the house and the majority leader in the Senate
coming out and saying that they are not going to have the language that is
apparently galvanized a lot of the organizers of these protests, that is the
felony legislation, the felony part of the legislation for someone crossing
the border illegally. Does that ameliorate many of your concerns?
GUTIERREZ: I think it's a step in the right direction. I'm happy that
Speaker Hastert, who I believe is an excellent legislator and congressman --
I have a great deal of respect for him. I disagree with him, but I have a
great degree of respect for him.
GUTIERREZ: I think he wants to do the compassionate and the right thing. And
I'm happy that we're setting the record...
GUTIERREZ: ...straight in terms of what we should be doing.
DOBBS: And what we should be doing is -- seems to me, is sort of questioning
what's going on in the United States Senate, and I wonder if you do. Because
in our research, in our investigation of watching, you recall your
colleagues there on Capitol Hill, the Senators McCain, Kennedy, Martinez,
others, saying that they are sort of patting themselves on the back on a
Thursday for being so close to a compromise -- talking about border security
and so forth.
Would you be surprised, congressman, to find out that we researched that and
found out that the United States Senate had not appropriated a single dime
for enforcement, for administration of a program that they were holding up
before television cameras -- and frankly I got to tell you, straight out, in
my opinion, lying to the American people -- saying that politics had
When in point of fact they hadn't put forth a dime of appropriations nor
were they going to for enforcement or the administration of a program, that
I think you would agree if we were to do an amnesty program as the president
wants would require an immense bureaucracy. Are you shocked that they did
GUTIERREZ: Well, I think putting your dollars behind your words and behind
good public policy is essential. It's essential if you're going to be
successful, and it's also essential if you're going to get the American
people to give you some credibility on the issue.
GUTIERREZ: When Senator McCain, Kennedy, with Congressman Flake and Colby,
first introduced the legislation last year -- when you read our bill -- and
I know you did, Lou...
DOBBS: I sure did.
GUTIERREZ: ...it was enforcement, enforcement, enforcement. We increased the
penalties. Much of the enforcement -- much of the dollars for enforcement
came out of increased penalties to employers and to those who would smuggle
people into this country. So I believe in enforcement. I think it's critical
that we have enforcement.
DOBBS: Right. GUTIERREZ: I also believe if you have 11 million people, if
you shut down the border and build the fence and build the wall and do all
of the enforcement, what do you do with the 11 million people that are here?
I think that that is something that we should have a rational debate and
DOBBS: And I think that has begun, and I know you and I may well part...
GUTIERREZ: I think so, too.
DOBBS: ...ways on this, but as I've said here for some time, and you and I
have discussed in person, we can't reform immigration if we can't control
it. And we can't control it if we don't have our borders secured and our
GUTIERREZ: And I think that if you and I were to sit down, for one moment,
and craft a border-patrol and a border-security, an internal security
measure, and I said to you, Lou, I want a biometric card that you can swipe
so that no employer would ever get away with the excuse that they didn't
know that was an undocumented worker, illegal here in this country. And I
said, we're going to use all kind of biometric measures, I bet you and I
would agree fundamentally on most of the essential parts of any
Now we have to turn the page and begin that discussion on the part that I
probably believe that you and I would disagree on, and that's what do we do
about those that are here already in the country.
DOBBS: If we can secure our borders and our ports, then we can begin a very
good discussion over a drink of your choice, coffee, tea, or whatever, and
then we'll get the rest of it.
Thanks for being here congressman. Appreciate it.
GUTIERREZ: Thank you, Lou, for having me here.
DOBBS: Congressman Luis Gutierrez, thank you.