Yesterday, we wrote about Spanish-language media and the anger they are showing toward House Republicans for not taking action on immigration reform. Today, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), a champion of reform, took to the House floor to deliver a blistering speech excoriating Speaker Boehner and his caucus for their timidity and short-sightedness. As Gutierrez says, immigration reform will come back to haunt the GOP if the House doesn’t pass a bill, as the Party’s deficit with Latino voters continues to grow. It doesn’t help that their current excuse claims that President Obama isn’t doing enough with deportations — not exactly an effective message with a community that has lost nearly 2 million deportees. Read a partial transcript of Rep. Gutierrez’s speech below or watch the video:
Mr. Speaker, when you said that the House needs to pass a bill, Boy! are you right.
Nobody believes the Republican Party can nominate a competitive candidate for President unless you find some way to neutralize the damage you have done to yourselves with your deportation-only approach to immigration.
And the immigration issue hasn’t just hurt you with Latino voters. It has hurt you with Asian and younger voters, too.
There is simply no math that adds up to 270 electoral votes unless the Republican Party stops getting slaughtered by 30, 40 or 50 points among the fastest growing groups of voters in the country.
And it only gets worse with each passing day, with another 2,000 Latino citizens turning 18 every day and becoming eligible to vote.
Speaker Boehner knows that this is the best chance his party has of getting the immigration issue off the table before 2016 and I believe he plans to come back to immigration reform.
The cost to the GOP politically is just too high if the GOP-controlled House blocks legislation this year.
You thought the Super Bowl was a blow out? Wait until November 2016 if immigration reform is still hanging out there undone.
You can tell the babysitter you will be home by 10:30 on Election Night. The contest will be over early.
But this notion, Mr. Speaker, that President Obama cannot be trusted to enforce immigration law? That just doesn’t make any sense to anyone who follows this issue.
Every day, day after day, week after week and year after year, people are being “disappeared” by our immigration enforcement machine. Another 1,100 today. And tomorrow.
Where is this generosity of spirit? This lax, liberal, soft-heartedness you seem to imagine? I wish you would tell the estimated 5,000 children currently in foster care because their parents are in detention or have already been deported.
I am going out to suburban Washington this evening to talk with the immigrants and advocates at Casa de Maryland.
I don’t suspect I will hear very much praise for President Obama’s enlightened approach to deportations and detention tonight.
They are not waiting patiently for Speaker Boehner or anyone else in the Republican Caucus to make up their minds about whether or when to start legislating on this matter.
I know they are not taking “maybe” or “not now” or “no” for an answer.
Mr. Speaker, you are not going to be spared. Kids will keep showing up to interrupt your breakfast as long as their parents are facing deportation and their communities are being ripped apart.
Mr. Speaker, you cannot deport your way out of this.
You cannot ignore your way out of this.
You cannot blame-Obama your way out of this.
You must act for the good of your country.
I yield back.