WASHINGTON, D.C. — Illinois Democrat Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) argued Friday evening that the bill offered by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), set to be voted on in conjunction with the border supplemental bill, that targets President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in fact eliminates it.
“Take it from me: if they want to say to the very extreme, right wing, xenophobic faction of their party – who they are trying to appease – that this doesn’t eliminate DACA, I’m ready to take that and apologize,” Gutierrez told reporters. “But I don’t think they are going to say that on the House floor because that defeats the very purpose.”
After House leadership failed to amass enough votes for the border legislation intended to deal with the ongoing crisis of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors and family units illegally crossing the border, the House conference revamped the legislation, tightening up provisions conservatives saw as problematic.
He stressed that leadership is looking to appeal to the “smallest common denominator.”
“It seems to me that they are suffering from a severe case of amnesia,” he said, pointing to the work he did with House leadership on immigration in the past.
“For 18 months we worked together. I think I know what dozens of Republicans believe. We were building consensus around the [immigration] bill. They gave us a series, last January, of principles. One of their principles was that the DREAMers – the [ones against whom] they are eliminating DACA today – get to go straight to American citizenship,” he said, going on to question, “How can they go from that to this?”
Gutierrez further slammed Republicans for trying to legislation on an appropriations bill.
“[The Democratic caucus was] clear: give us a clean bill. This is an appropriations bill; we are not supposed to be legislating on an appropriations bill,” he said, adding that three fourths of the appropriations bill is “changing immigration policy.”