Representative Luis Gutierrez called on the House of Representatives to take up legislation that would protect hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought here as young children from deportation, so-called DACA recipients.
“The President still plans to kill DACA and make hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are currently documented and known to their government into undocumented immigrants forced underground – vulnerable, exploitable, and deportable. The House has an opportunity – indeed, a responsibility – to step up to the occasion and craft a permanent solution,” he said in a statement emailed to ITN, as well as in a speech from the House floor today.
He expressed willingness to work with lawmakers on the other side of the aisle but said that the body had to rise above the racism emanating from the White House.
“I am one Democrat who will work with Republicans if Republicans are serious about solutions. But it must start with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle saying yes, we want to solve the problem and we want to rise above the racism emanating from the White House today,” he said.
Repeated attempts to pass a permanent solution for DACA have failed in Congress as part of larger immigration-reform negotiations, and it’s unclear whether Republican leaders will move to bring immigration bills to the floor for votes this week. March 5 is the end date for the program. Questions to Mitch McConnell’s office on whether the Senate Majority Leader will bring immigration bills to the floor this week went unanswered.
The Supreme Court declined to hear a case involving the ending of DACA program yesterday, meaning that lower courts’ blocks of the ending of the program remain in place for now. Two federal courts have struck down President Trump’s rescission of the program while lawsuits challenging the decision are working their way through the courts. The decision likely means DACA will likely remain in place for the at least the near-term future.
Gutierrez said, however, that decisions by the court system shouldn’t alleviate pressure on the House. “Let’s be clear, Mr. Speaker,” Gutierrez said in a speech on the House floor today. “Just because the courts have taken action and the Senate failed to take action, does not mean that the House and Republicans are off the hook for DACA.”
“Can we as a body rise to the occasion to do something Americans want us to do? Can we set aside questions of who wins and who loses politically long enough to do what is right? We won’t know unless we try,” he said.