Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) slammed “nativists” on the House floor this morning, comparing the anti-illegal-immigration wing of the GOP to mice who want milk after they get their cookies.
Accompanied by a poster covered with the word “amnesty,” Gutierrez was arguing for language in the defense reauthorization bill that would consider allowing “DREAMers” who avoided deportation through President Obama’s executive actions to serve in the military. The Pentagon would be authorized to study the impact of allowing such enlistments.
That language was inserted by Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) at the House Armed Services Committee level and approved on a bipartisan vote. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) has offered a measure on the House floor to strip the language, saying it “betrays Americans by encouraging the secretary of Defense to hire illegal aliens rather than Americans.”
“The NDAA, as amended by Congressman Ruben Gallego, undermines America’s border security and ratifies portions of President Obama’s illegal amnesty for illegal aliens,” Brooks wrote in a letter to colleagues this morning. “For fifteen years, American families have struggled in an anemic job and wage market. Rep. Gallego’s amendment makes job and income prospects for American citizens even worse.”
About 700,000 illegal immigrants have come forward under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Gutierrez said the GOP is “in very, very deep trouble when it comes to the immigration issue.”
“Do you know what the contingent of hardcore anti-immigration guys in the Republican Conference started shouting? You guessed it: the A-word, amnesty,” he said of the defense bill language. “…Members of Congress from Alabama to Iowa to Texas began throwing around the amnesty attack. It’s a ‘backdoor amnesty.’ We shouldn’t ‘reward’ illegal aliens who want to risk their lives to defend their adopted country when there are red-blooded Americans who want to fight.”
Gutierrez said it reminds him of a story he read to his grandson. “It goes: if you give a Mouse a Cookie, he is going to ask for a glass of milk. And if you give him a glass of milk, he’s going to ask for a straw. Anything you give the little mouse is going to lead to a new and bigger request — and that must be what the Speaker of the House feels like with his nativist wing.”
“If you give them 30,000 more border guards, Mr. Speaker, they will ask for more deportations. If you give them a record number of deportations, they will ask the Speaker for a vote on quicker deportations of vulnerable children. If you give them the vote for quicker deportations for children, they will demand a vote to deport all DREAMers who have permission to work legally. And if you give them the vote on deporting DREAMers, they will ask for a hearing on amending the Constitution to eliminate birthright citizenship. And then at some point they will demand that every single reference to anything related to immigrants without papers — even a research project – be declared an amnesty and stripped from legislation.”
And, Gutierrez added, “if you give the restrictionists a vote or a hearing on every crazy idea they come up with, you will be relegated to being a provincial party with power in the House, but little ability to influence or even occupy the Senate, the White House, or the Supreme Court.”
“At some point, I respectfully suggest you cut off the mouse’s supply of cookies,” the congressman said.