Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez used his time testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to furiously denounce the Center for Immigration Studies’ Jessica Vaughan, after she turned his dismissal of Kathryn Steinle’s murder as “a little thing” against him.
Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies, testified about the dangers sanctuary policies pose to Americans when local jurisdictions refuse to hand over illegal aliens to immigration authorities, or even detain them.
“As someone who has also lost a close family member,” Vaughan said, “my brother, because of a negligent act by a sworn law enforcement officer and also a bad policy — and I should add that the offense that was committed was one that some on this committee would call a ‘minor traffic offense’ that killed my brother, I have to say that it is really not OK to refer to these tragedies as a ‘little thing,’ as one member of this committee has.”
This reference was to Gutierrez, who brushed off Steinle’s murder during a July 16 interview with Telemundo. After a reporter cited the killing in relation to sanctuary cities, he responded: “Every time a little thing like this happens, [Republicans] use the most extreme example to say it must be eliminated.”
Vaughan continued, “I have a friend. Her name is Heather. A few years ago, she was carjacked at knife-point and taken to Roger Williams’ Park in Providence, Rhode Island, and raped repeatedly by an illegal alien who had been in the custody of the Providence Police Department more than once,” but was released thanks to a mayor’s sanctuary city policies.
“This was not a ‘little thing,'” she declared. “I have other friends, some in this room, who can tell similar stories. And I’m afraid Congress is about to get away with doing just a ‘little thing’ just by barring funding from these sanctuary jurisdictions, some funding. And I’m asking you today to not be satisfied by just doing a ‘little thing.’ This big problem requires you to have the courage to do a bigger thing.”
Gutierrez was spitting mad.
About three minutes into his testimony, he asked to re-read a statement he made at another hearing. He began to read in an increasingly angry tone.
“I just want to, just for the record, because I think it is very important –” he paused, glaring daggers at the audience, likely at Vaughan. “Listen to this,” he demanded, with another pregnant pause. He then read aloud a statement he made during a July 14 hearing.
“‘I want to say to you, Mr. Gowdy, that I feel the same anguish and pain that I know the secretary does, and every American should at the death of that woman,'” he read. “That nobody has come here to look for excuses or anything else. I mean, this is a career criminal we have on our hands… This man is not an immigrant. Immigrants come here to work hard, sweat, and toil,” he read in staccato, before rushing on: “We should be warm and welcoming them; this man is a foreigner who has come to cause damage.”
He appeared to calm himself somewhat before stating: “‘Let’s fix our broken immigration system, so we can get rid of foreigners who come here to cause damage, harm and welcome immigrants.'”
“That is my statement,” he said, waving a piece of paper. “I’d just like to put it in the record, once again, because apparently Mrs. Vaughan didn’t read it,” he snarled. “Or take the time to read it.”
“Secondly, on the floor of the House of Representatives, on July 9, quote — and this is in the record, and I’d like to put it in the record once again, because apparently Mrs. Vaughan doesn’t read,” he spat, “what is actually said, in the English language, in the English language, that I have said.”
This was a deeply disingenuous thing for Gutierrez to say about Steinle’s murder: In English, he said he could “only imagine the grief her family is feeling” on the Congressional record. One week later, he said in Spanish her death was “a little thing.” Politicians talk out both sides of their mouth, but thanks to mass immigration, the U.S. can see its elected representatives do so in different languages.
Gutierrez accused Vaughan of “exploiting” Steinle’s death by pointing out that defiant local authorities refused to cooperate with immigration law enforcement, and that Gutierrez himself scoffed at her murder.
Gutierrez, always audacious, adopted Steinle’s murder as a way to plug his own political career.
“Apparently,” Gutierrez said as he removed his glasses and gathered himself up in a fury, “people have decided to besmirch people’s reputation, and take their words, and exploit the death of a beautiful young American woman. And I will not simply stand here and remain silent while that happens. You may not believe that we should have, Mrs. Vaughan, a fixing of our broken immigration system. But don’t exploit a young woman’s death in order to receive a paycheck to put food on your table.”
That Americans have lost beloved family members to illegal aliens made no impression on Gutierrez. He demanded Vaughan stop talking about immigration altogether.
“You should find a more decent and practical way about going about your living,” he shouted.
And then Gutierrez turned to her grieving father.
“To Mr. Steinle, I am so sorry about the death of your daughter,” he said, putting a hand to his heart. “I assure you I have a 36-year-old, and a 27-year-old, and I love them dearly. And I can never imagine losing them. And I will work to make sure we fix this immigration system. And the situations like the ones you suffer never happen again.”
“That has been my record in the past, in working with the members of the minority and the majority in this House. And I take great offense at anyone suggesting otherwise,” he concluded.
Email Katie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @k_mcq.