On the night when House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) hired an adviser who previously helped Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) push for amnesty, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) claimed proponents of comprehensive immigration reform had enough votes in the House to pass a pathway to citizenship.
Gutierrez said proponents of amnesty do not need the votes of the many “politicians [who] are reluctant to vote ‘yea’ on any immigration reform bill because they worry such a vote will cost them in a primary or a general election.”
“Every Republican and Democrat who believes immigration reform will hurt their districts can vote ‘nay’ and we still have 218 votes for the reform this country needs and deserves,” Gutierrez wrote in The Hill on Wednesday night.
He again said that he believes “the votes exist in the House” for a bill that “legalizes the undocumented and keeps families together.”
Gutierrez has previously claimed that his “Republican friends” have told him that they want to pass comprehensive immigration in everything but name only after President Barack Obama said he would be fine with immigration reform being broken up into pieces so long as all of the pieces pass.
Though House leaders have said they would not go to conference with the existing Senate immigration bill, which passed this year with a pathway to citizenship provision that the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages of working class Americans, they have not ruled out going to conference on piecemeal pieces of legislation.
Gutierrez wrote that he believes “there is substantial room for compromise on immigration in the next few weeks and certainly the next few months. If it helps you politically to define it as a series of incremental steps and a rejection of the Senate plan, so be it.”
Gutierrez claimed, “We harm ourselves every day when we deport 1,100 people. We put U.S. citizen children in foster care or the care of others or we send them out of the country. A generation of kids has grown up with the threat of deportation of mom or dad.”
Though Gutierrez continues to emphasize that he believes the votes in the House exist for a pathway to citizenship, Sen. John McCain has indicated that proponents of amnesty will make a final push after the Republican primaries are over and President Barack Obama will reportedly try to start the push for immigration reform again this month.