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Gutierrez Willing to Strike DACA Deal That Leaves Out 'Chain Migration,' Visa Lottery Kills

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), left, speak to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force, who stormed out of President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, said that a DACA deal would only work with Dems if the “chain migration” and visa lottery cancellations sought by the White House are left out of the bill.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) left the chamber while GOPs were chanting “USA,” and fired off a statement afterward on the speech that was “was clear and well-delivered — whoever translated it for him from Russian did a good job.”

“The White House agenda is to gut legal immigration in exchange for allowing some of the DREAMers to live here,” he said, adding that he hoped in vain for “some sort of apology on Puerto Rico.”

“Puerto Rico is a metaphor for how this president sees all Latinos and people of color: he does not see us as his equals and he does not see us as fellow human beings,” Gutierrez’s statement continued. “If you look at how the president has treated Puerto Rico, you have to conclude that he just doesn’t care and probably thinks of Puerto Rico as just another shithole country.”

The congressman added, “I was hoping to get through my life without having to witness an outwardly, explicitly racist American president, but my luck ran out.”

Gutierrez told Bloomberg TV that “there’s not going to be a big chance” for an immigration deal in Congress “if what this about is ending legal immigration.”

“I know they’ll tell you it’s about border security, it’s about stopping people from taking American jobs; I’m for that. It’s about keeping us safe from terrorists; I’m for that. But it’s really about — if you listen, it’s not really about a border security measure. It’s not about a fence. It’s not about a wall. It’s about what they call chain migration, which is a word, which is — it’s very harmful to the debate, and also very offensive to people like me because it’s really about family reunification and family-based visas,” he said.

“There are millions of people in line to come to America being sponsored by their dads, and their moms, and their brothers, and their sisters, and children sponsoring their parents. This is about keeping families together. It’s the cornerstone of our immigration, and they want to end that. They want to end diversity visa. I mean, think about it about 45 percent of the visas go to Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Trump said during his address that his plan “generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age,” and under “those who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character, will be able to become full citizens of the United States over a 12-year period.” The original text of the plan released by the White House said 10-12 years.

The president asserted that terrorist attacks in New York City last year “were made possible by the visa lottery and chain migration.”

Gutierrez said he’s willing to strike a deal on a plan to spare Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals program beneficiaries from deportation that only includes border security trade-offs because “when they took the DREAMers hostage, you knew you’re going to pay a ransom.”

“If you stop legal immigration, as they want to do, then you create illegal immigration, because you create an incentive for the drug smugglers and the human smugglers to bring those relatives here to the United States,” he said. “So let’s bring them with visas, in an orderly fashion. It was good in the past. It helped the Irish, it helped the Germans, it helps the Poles. It helps millions of people come and create, and build America. I assure you that the immigrants of today are creating jobs.”

“And it’s almost as though ‘family-based’ means dumb people are coming. No, they are smart people, they’re industrious people, and they make America a great nation.”