On Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) met with more than 50 pro-amnesty leaders in Chicago to prepare for President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty that could give work permits to five million illegal immigrants.
Gutierrez said that Chicago “voices have been among the loudest calling for immigration reform” and will “be a leader when it comes to implementing administrative action.”
Emanuel, who used to be President Obama’s chief of staff, faces a tough reelection battle in 2015, as his approval ratings have been plummeting. Knowing that he may need to win Hispanics by a huge margin, Emanuel recently named Gutierrez, with whom he has had a history of animosity, as a co-chairman of his reelection campaign.
“We value the voices of these important leaders and we have a landmark opportunity to set an example and lead the nation on this issue,” Emanuel said in a statement after the meeting that lasted more than an hour.
Gutierrez noted that Chicago is already “a leader on immigration issues and when the President makes his announcement, whatever the specifics, Chicago will be ready to lead again. He added that the country needs “to address the toll that deportations have taken and start the healing process in communities across the city and across the nation.”