WASHINGTON – Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) vowed to oppose any Homeland Security budget that supports an immigration law “enforcement craze” and said he expects his Democratic colleagues to follow suit.
Gutierrez was asked if he agrees with those who do not want to see any immigration law enforcement inside of the U.S.
“Look, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to make sure we do not support any DHS budget as long as there is this enforcement craze on the part of this administration. I’m not going to allow Border Patrol agents to facilitate the hiring of additional Border Patrol agents, of additional ICE agents to come into our community,” Gutierrez said on a conference call organized by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) about the launch of the Not One Dollar campaign, which is aimed at opposing “every single dollar devoted to separating families.”
“I’m going to oppose the budget that’s doing harm to our community because I think we need to do everything possible to stand up and make sure that people aren’t suffering and that the families aren’t destroyed,” he added.
Gutierrez pledged not to vote in favor of “one more dollar” going toward “separating families” through deportation.
“Look, you can’t go around the country saying that you are for stopping the deportation, that you are for defending DACA, that you are for defending our immigrant families and then vote to reauthorize and to fund the Department of Homeland Security, to take the omnibus, to make it easier for people to hire immigration agents,” he said.
“And the last omnibus, what did it include? $1.6 billion to build a wall. Now, these are all opportunities that we’ve had in just the last few months; more opportunities will present themselves. We need to send a resounding ‘no’ to this deportation machine and these executive orders,” he added.
Elmiva Principe, who also spoke on the conference call, is facing deportation after living in the U.S. illegally for about 14 years. Principe came to the attention of immigration authorities during her family’s vacation to Niagara Falls.
“Our case will be decided in August and our hearts are broken,” Principe said, translated from Spanish. “Our message is not one dollar for deportation. I ask my congressman [Rodney Frelinghuysen] that he block this inhumane and cruel budget and that he stop my deportation.”
Gutierrez said the Trump administration is not only deporting undocumented immigrants with criminal records.
“They aren’t going after the ‘bad hombres.’ They are going after decent moms and dads,” he said. “I’m going to join the campaign to make sure that there are more colleagues of mine that see the budgetary process as the opportunity to stand up for our immigrants.”
Gutierrez said the Democratic Party should stand up for undocumented immigrants the same way they support Planned Parenthood, LGBT rights and other progressive causes.
“I’ll just put it this way. I only expect that as we come together for our LGBT community, for our environment, for our working men and women in the labor movement, as we come together for so many other aspects of our progressive movement,” Gutierrez said. “The same way I have stood up for Planned Parenthood, I expect my colleagues to stand up for women’s rights, for reproductive rights, equal pay and guess what? Protect the families of immigrants. We would never support budgets that undermine the ability of our other communities to live with justice and fairness, and I expect the same for our immigrant community.”