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Rep. Luis Gutierrez: Timeline for Immigration Reform is in Congress’ Hands

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GutierrezThis morning, Rep. Luis Gutierrez posted this response to the President’s State of the Union address last night:

Last night, President Obama spoke for seventy minutes on the State of our Union. About two of those minutes focused on one of the greatest challenges facing it.

The President talked of health care and jobs and our economy. That was the right thing to do. But the President must acknowledge that fixing our economy, providing health care, putting people back to work and moving America forward cannot be separated from fixing our broken immigration system.

The President Said:

“And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system – to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation. ”

“In the end, it is our ideals, our values, that built America – values that allowed us to forge a nation made up of immigrants from every corner of the globe; values that drive our citizens still. Every day, Americans meet their responsibilities to their families and their employers. Time and again, they lend a hand to their neighbors and give back to their country. They take pride in their labor, and are generous in spirit. These aren’t Republican values or Democratic values they’re living by; business values or labor values. They are American values. “

The President is absolutely right. It’s timely. It’s necessary. And it’s the right thing to do. In fact, it is the American thing to do.

Rep. Gutierrez argues that the President did not go far enough to explain why we need real immigration reform:

But he did not go far enough for the four million American citizen children whose parents face deportation; the millions of Americans waiting to be reunited with loved ones overseas; hardworking Americans whose security is undermined in the workplace; women who are physically and sexually exploited on the floors of meatpacking plants; or the $1.5 trillion lacking from our Gross Domestic Product, all in the absence of real reform.

In addition, he argues that it is now up to Congress now to move a timeline on real reform forward:

Though he clearly supports the notion that our laws must reflect the contributions immigrants have made to literally build this country, it is clear to me that Congress cannot wait for the President to lay out our timeline for comprehensive reform.

We’ve introduced a proposal in the House of Representatives with the support of 92 cosponsors. It has the strong backing of labor unions, immigration advocates and faith leaders across the country. And it’s time for that powerful community to come together and demand hearings.