Election 2020

Retiring Gutierrez Wants to Create 'Parallel Structure' to Dem Party to Defeat Trump

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) speaks in support of people affected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program during a rally at the Capitol on Oct. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said today that he’s leaving Congress to “create a parallel structure so that we can win in 2020 and defeat Donald Trump.”

Gutierrez, the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force who has served in office since 1993, pulled his re-election petition on Monday. Politico reported that the congressman is entertaining a presidential run.

He told MSNBC this morning that he’s confident he has a successor in Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, a Cook County commissioner backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and “number two, my island of Puerto Rico calls for me. My heart bleeds for her every day. I want to work tirelessly on that.”

Gutierrez said he’s also looking forward to working in politics while not being 800 miles away from his wife and daughters.

“I want to create that structure in Wisconsin, in Ohio and Pennsylvania and Michigan,” he said of the 2020 “parallel structure” plan. “There are tens of thousands of immigrants there that are permanent residents. I’d like to help them become citizens. I’d like to have civic engagement with them. And I want to coordinate.”

“And, at the same time, I think it’s very important — look, think about it. I can keep pressure on my own party, to make sure my party is true to its immigrant causes,” he added.

The congressman said his efforts would be outside the Democratic Party. “I’m a member of the Democratic caucus, proud to be there with my colleagues,” he said. “But, look, I’ve never held a title here, any title in the Democratic caucus. So I think my effectiveness is always working to improve the Democratic Party.”

“…I’m going to say what’s the best way that Luis Gutierrez can help defeat Donald Trump in 2020. And I don’t want to do it here in Congress.”

As long as Trump is president, he reasoned, immigration reform “will never be accomplished.”

“I know there’s a lot of sad people out there that want me to stay here. You humble me by your calls of sadness,” Gutierrez said. “But don’t despair. I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to see you in your neighborhood very soon, in your city, in your county, in your village. I intend to come and visit with you and to organize with you so that we can achieve the goal together.”

The Illinois Dem is encouraging Republicans in the House to support a DREAM Act to save 800,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals beneficiaries and send the bill “to the crazy man over at the White House, so he has nothing to do but to sign it.”

“Let people who are sane, prudent, responsible, patriots here put together a budget for the American people,” he added.