Immigration Policyby Representative Luis V. Gutiérrez
Posted on 2015-01-08
GUTIERREZ. Mr. Speaker, if you live in Rhode Island, Texas, New
York, New Jersey, or Florida, I am looking forward to seeing you in the
coming weeks, and my friends in North Carolina and South Carolina, too.
When I am not here or in my district in Chicago, I have half a dozen events lined up over the next few weeks, and I am going to be going from town to town, State to State, talking with people about the President's immigration executive actions and what it means for them, their families, and their communities.
In congregations and community centers and schools, and with local elected officials, I am going to be doing outreach to educate the community of immigrants and also to mobilize the multitude of allies at the State and local level who will help millions of our immigrant neighbors come forward and register with the government.
I will not be alone in this effort. Next week I will be with the distinguished gentleman from Rhode Island, David Cicilline, and with his mayor in Providence holding an event to get people the information they need so they can get ready to sign up with the government.
From Charlotte to Houston to Los Angeles, my colleagues here in the House are pulling together events to educate their own communities, and I hope to attend as many as I can.
Evangelical congregations across the Nation, the Catholic Church, and my own archdiocese in Chicago are stepping up to organize and host events and begin laying the groundwork for millions of people who work and live and raise families in the U.S. to come forward and pay to be temporarily spared from deportation.
Labor unions, corporations, small businesses that want to help families remain together, hey, they are preparing, too, and mayors, lots of mayors across the country. Apparently when Mayor Rahm Emanuel from the city of Chicago steps forward to say he will help facilitate the enrollment of families and individuals with the Federal Government, other mayors say, ``Me, too,'' and good for them.
We can all help by playing a role in implementing the immigration executive actions taken by the President that will help millions of people. Congress refuses to pass laws that channel people into legal immigration with visas, and Congress refuses to address millions of people who have lived and worked here for a decade or more, and they refuse to address any meaningful enforcement like E-Verify or at the borders and ports of entry because they would rather play politics and play to the talk radio audience.
But at the White House and on our side of the aisle, we are actually taking steps on immigration that will address the anxieties of the talk radio audience and not just inflame their frustration with the current mess. Remember, not doing anything, the Republican strategy, that is amnesty.
We are going to make sure that millions of American citizens can live with their family members and that we not place American citizen children in foster care by the thousands because we are deporting their parents.
We are going to make sure that more of the employment and tax base of the country is on the books, working legitimately for employers who have to follow the rules, and that employers will not get to pick between a legal job market and an illegal one that is not protected by labor laws, wage protection, safety regulations, and, yes, tax compliance.
We are getting accurate information out to people to tell them that what the President announced is not immigration reform, it is not a permanent but a small step in the right direction within the confines of current law.
As I said during the last Congress--and I am repeating it again today--I will work with anyone in either party who has a legitimate idea on how to make our immigration system more secure, more legal, more orderly. Most of my fellow lawmakers in this body support legal immigration, and to make progress we need to break with the group opposing legal immigration.
We need a modern visa system that takes America beyond the current system crafted in the 1980s and 1990s. We [[Page H108]] need a modern enforcement with an electronic verification system that replaces a paper-based system of documentation. We need modern border security that works hand in hand with modern visa and enforcement systems so that we channel traffic through ports of entry where commodities, cargo, and people are inspected efficiently.
More militarization, more deportation, and narrower legal immigration channels have not given us greater control over the immigration process and have led us to a number of problems.
If you are serious about border security, legalization enforcement, legal immigration, then my door is always open. Tell me what you need to move forward. Do you need more fences? More high tech visas? More immigration judges? Tell me what it will take to get this Congress out of the current rut.
In the meantime, I and a lot of my colleagues are going to be out there around the country protecting American families from destruction and protecting millions from deportation.