Congressional lawmakers have returned from their summer recess, and immigration champion Rep. Luis Gutierrez wasted no time speaking out “about the number one topic in Latino neighborhoods in America: Donald Trump.”
Stationed in between two large photos of leading Republican candidate Donald Trump and Pope Francis, Rep. Gutierrez declared the Pontiff’s upcoming visit to the United States the “antidote” to Trump’s “venom”, “a counter weight to what has become the ugliest, most xenophobic, most anti-immigration campaign in anyone’s memory”:
On one shoulder, we have a billionaire out there saying Mexicans are murderers, immigrants come to this country to get on welfare, our best days are behind us, and just getting tough and insulting people will solve all of our problems and make us great again.
And almost everyone else in his party is scrambling to catch up so they do not miss out on the wave of populist anger he is tapping…and feeding with a mix of untruths, half-truths, and good old fashioned racism.
On the other shoulder is a man who is not afraid to touch the feet of the poor and recognizes their humanity even in their poverty.
He is a man who sees actual human problems like our environment and tries to bring us together to do something about it.
He is a man who through deeds, declarations, and his own demeanor says in a clear voice: “Welcome the stranger” and “Come onto me.”
He does not blame a nation’s problems on the strangers at the gate or say get the hell out.
In many ways, Pope Francis represents the Anti-Trump. The antidote to his venom.
Latinos and immigrants across the nation hold the same hopes as Rep. Gutierrez, with at least 50,000 expected to trek to Washington, D.C. to catch even a fleeting glimpse of Pope Francis as he addresses a historic joint session of Congress. Among them will be 100 immigrant and refugee women who are walking 100 miles from Philadelphia to D.C. in solidarity with the Pope and immigrant and refugee families.
“I think in this Capitol Building, in this Chamber, when the Pope speaks to us, we will see two paths in very sharp relief,” Rep. Gutierrez continues.
“Build a wall or build a bridge? Help our brother or turn our backs? Belittle our sister or share her heavy load? Incite distrust and division or foster unity to face our challenges because we are stronger together?”
“For this Catholic American – for this man who has sometimes struggled with the Church and is not always welcomed because of my support for women’s health, a woman’s right to a legal abortion, and LGBT rights – I am so looking forward to the Pope’s visit because I feel my nation needs him right now.”
The entire text of Rep. Gutierrez’s floor speech is available here, and, as usual, it’s a must-watch below.