Rep. Luis Gutierrez’s new immigration tactic: Launches national citizenship push. Talks about immigration again on CNN’s Lou Dobbs.

SHARE Rep. Luis Gutierrez’s new immigration tactic: Launches national citizenship push. Talks about immigration again on CNN’s Lou Dobbs.
SHARE Rep. Luis Gutierrez’s new immigration tactic: Launches national citizenship push. Talks about immigration again on CNN’s Lou Dobbs.

In order to keep pressure on Congress to pass an immigration bill dealing with national security as well as the plight of illegal immigrants in the U.S., Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) will launch an “aggresive” citizenship drive.

Last week, I did a Luis vs Lou column and blog post….about how Gutierrez’ appearence with CNN’s Lou Dobbs a week ago might have triggered fireworks–but did not.

Dobbs very kindly noted the Sun-Times coverage on his show Wednesday. He opined that the reporter–hey that’s me!– was “obviously devastated” that the two had “not gone down to the level fisticuffs” over the issue of illegal immigration.




Campaign designed to harness the strength

and power of massive marches through

nationwide citizenship workshops

WHAT: U.S. Representative Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.), chair of the

Democratic Caucus Immigration Task Force, will be joined by local lawmakers,

representatives from community based organizations and a diverse group of

immigrant and labor leaders at a press conference Monday, April 17, 2006, at

10:00 a.m., to announce a new initiative designed to keep pressure on

lawmakers to enact comprehensive immigration reform.

In an effort to build on the strength and importance of the recent rallies

and massive marches, Rep. Gutierrez will work with event organizers and

elected officials across the country to create an aggressive nationwide

citizenship campaign.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “The heated political debate over

immigration has sent foreigners who legally live in the U.S. scrambling in

record numbers to find out how to become citizens.” In Chicago, Rep.

Gutierrez has helped more than 40,000 individuals on the path to permanency.

He will utilize the best practices of his citizenship workshops in Illinois

to create a nationwide campaign to help legal permanent residents across the

country to achieve the American Dream. Based on statistics from the

Department of Homeland Security, eight million immigrants are currently

eligible for citizenship.

WHEN: Monday, April 17, 2006, at 10:00 a.m.

WHERE: Casa Aztln (1831 S. Racine Ave., 2nd Floor)

WHO: U.S. Representative Luis V. Gutierrez, local lawmakers,

representatives from community based organizations and immigrant and labor



My next guest was not one of the Democrats who voted for the Sensenbrenner

legislation. Congressman Luis Gutierrez helped organize a protest, in fact,

against the legislation and brought 100,000 people out on to the streets of


Congressman Gutierrez, chairman of the Democratic Immigration Task Force

joins us here tonight from Chicago. Good to have you with us, congressman.

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: Thank Lou. It’s a pleasure to be with


DOBBS: By the way, I just should point out, I saw an article in one of your

papers there in Chicago — I think “The Sun Times” — lamenting the fact

that the last time you were here a week ago that you and I had not gone down

to the level of fisticuffs in trying to beat one another senseless on the

issue of illegal immigration.

GUTIERREZ: I wasn’t lamenting that, Lou. I just said, isn’t it great we

didn’t go there?

DOBBS: You’re right. You’re absolutely right.

GUTIERREZ: That we can have a discussion. I was — actually, I said, look,

we had a great discussion. We had a great talk. Let’s keep talking about the

future of America together.

DOBBS: No, I was just — and I thought you were

— and I certainly second your comments. I just thought it was funny that

the reporter was obviously devastated that you were…

GUTIERREZ: The editorial, yes.

DOBBS: You know, giving us both that opportunity, let’s go to the issue.


DOBBS: The demonstration, we have seen some growth in the organizers of

these protests and demonstrations, far more American flags and even though

some of them are upside down, far fewer national flags.

But now there’s a call — I don’t know if you were able to see it, but as we

reported from Los Angeles tonight, Nativo Lopez, a large number of

organizations are now calling for May 1 as a nationwide boycott to

demonstrate the power, the economic power, of illegal aliens in this


Are you going to be supporting that? Do you believe it’s the right thing to


GUTIERREZ: I really don’t, Lou. To be quite honest with you, I’m not

appraised of the situation. I don’t know what — I know that there was a

boycott of a certain beer because they were supporting Mr. Sensenbrenner,

and the beer company kind of came to their senses and said, we’d love to do

these additional things with the immigrant community.

And boycotting and saying, we’re not going to sponsor those that we don’t

believe are helping us, is a pretty long-standing American tradition. So if

it’s that kind of a boycott against the enemies of those — I mean, people

shouldn’t — I think in America…

DOBBS: I can put you down…


GUTIERREZ: … my dollars. Excuse me.

DOBBS: I can put you down under undecided or a maybe then in terms of the

boycott and the protests.

GUTIERREZ: Well, I’m a definite maybe.

DOBBS: All right, well fair enough.

Congressman, let’s talk about the Sensenbrenner legislation. Both your

majority — the speaker of the house and the majority leader in the Senate

coming out and saying that they are not going to have the language that is

apparently galvanized a lot of the organizers of these protests, that is the

felony legislation, the felony part of the legislation for someone crossing

the border illegally. Does that ameliorate many of your concerns?

GUTIERREZ: I think it’s a step in the right direction. I’m happy that

Speaker Hastert, who I believe is an excellent legislator and congressman —

I have a great deal of respect for him. I disagree with him, but I have a

great degree of respect for him.

DOBBS: Right.

GUTIERREZ: I think he wants to do the compassionate and the right thing. And

I’m happy that we’re setting the record…

DOBBS: Right.

GUTIERREZ: …straight in terms of what we should be doing.

DOBBS: And what we should be doing is — seems to me, is sort of questioning

what’s going on in the United States Senate, and I wonder if you do. Because

in our research, in our investigation of watching, you recall your

colleagues there on Capitol Hill, the Senators McCain, Kennedy, Martinez,

others, saying that they are sort of patting themselves on the back on a

Thursday for being so close to a compromise — talking about border security

and so forth.

Would you be surprised, congressman, to find out that we researched that and

found out that the United States Senate had not appropriated a single dime

for enforcement, for administration of a program that they were holding up

before television cameras — and frankly I got to tell you, straight out, in

my opinion, lying to the American people — saying that politics had

overwhelmed policy.

When in point of fact they hadn’t put forth a dime of appropriations nor

were they going to for enforcement or the administration of a program, that

I think you would agree if we were to do an amnesty program as the president

wants would require an immense bureaucracy. Are you shocked that they did


GUTIERREZ: Well, I think putting your dollars behind your words and behind

good public policy is essential. It’s essential if you’re going to be

successful, and it’s also essential if you’re going to get the American

people to give you some credibility on the issue.

DOBBS: Right.

GUTIERREZ: When Senator McCain, Kennedy, with Congressman Flake and Colby,

first introduced the legislation last year — when you read our bill — and

I know you did, Lou…

DOBBS: I sure did.

GUTIERREZ: …it was enforcement, enforcement, enforcement. We increased the

penalties. Much of the enforcement — much of the dollars for enforcement

came out of increased penalties to employers and to those who would smuggle

people into this country. So I believe in enforcement. I think it’s critical

that we have enforcement.

DOBBS: Right. GUTIERREZ: I also believe if you have 11 million people, if

you shut down the border and build the fence and build the wall and do all

of the enforcement, what do you do with the 11 million people that are here?

I think that that is something that we should have a rational debate and

discussion about.

DOBBS: And I think that has begun, and I know you and I may well part…

GUTIERREZ: I think so, too.

DOBBS: …ways on this, but as I’ve said here for some time, and you and I

have discussed in person, we can’t reform immigration if we can’t control

it. And we can’t control it if we don’t have our borders secured and our

ports secured.

GUTIERREZ: And I think that if you and I were to sit down, for one moment,

and craft a border-patrol and a border-security, an internal security

measure, and I said to you, Lou, I want a biometric card that you can swipe

so that no employer would ever get away with the excuse that they didn’t

know that was an undocumented worker, illegal here in this country. And I

said, we’re going to use all kind of biometric measures, I bet you and I

would agree fundamentally on most of the essential parts of any

border-patrol bill.

Now we have to turn the page and begin that discussion on the part that I

probably believe that you and I would disagree on, and that’s what do we do

about those that are here already in the country.

DOBBS: If we can secure our borders and our ports, then we can begin a very

good discussion over a drink of your choice, coffee, tea, or whatever, and

then we’ll get the rest of it.

Thanks for being here congressman. Appreciate it.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you, Lou, for having me here.

DOBBS: Congressman Luis Gutierrez, thank you.

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