below, release from Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.).....
Rep. Gutierrez Comments on President's El Paso Immigration Address
(Washington, DC) - The following is a statement by Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL-4), Chair of the Immigration Taskforce of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
The President's diagnosis of the policy and the political problem is perfect, but his proposed remedy -- waiting for the Congress to pass a bill -- misses the urgency of the problem.
As I go around the country, I hear the stories of U.S. citizens, veterans, DREAM Act students, and all types of immigrants and they tell me stories of their families being ripped apart by deportation, the barriers they face for visas and legal status, and their fear that they will lose their children or loved ones. They need relief now.
The President should say that we will not deport the wives of U.S. soldiers or the class valedictorians or the parents of U.S. citizens until Congress acts to pass broad and sensible reform. If that sparks a fight with Republicans in Congress, let's have that fight. It is about principle and standing up for what you believe in and what is already in the law.
We will not get a bill past the Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, before Election Day 2012 and yet hundreds of thousands of immigrants will be deported and many more thousands of U.S. citizens will see their families destroyed.
The President's speech was stirring and showed how persuasive he can be when he puts his mind to it. We have indeed invested a fortune in border security, deportations, detentions, and enforcement and whatever amount we invest will not be enough for some of the President's critics. We deport about 400,000 people a year -- more than under President Bush -- and it is not helping anyone. We have stationed troops on the border and Democrats put mandatory employment verification on the table as part of reform and still Republicans will not come forward to discuss how we move forward.
The President is right that we cannot truly secure the border until we have a functioning legal immigration system that people go through rather than go around. And any policy based on removing or driving out the 11-12 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally is a fantasy.
He has the power to make things better right now without the Congress having to pass any new laws and I will continue to encourage him to do so.
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