Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), one of the foremost voices for amnesty for illegal aliens, has vowed to oppose President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program “in the streets.”
But in his 2013 memoir, Still Dreaming: My Journey from the Barrio to Capitol Hill, Gutierrez recalled that President Barack Obama had argued that DACA was not legally possible — that is, until he actually did it.
In 2011, when he was first approached about DACA, Obama said, “I can’t do it,” Gutiérrez recalled.
Gutiérrez said that Obama only acted once he had a “Rubio problem” — that is, once Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) proposed a bill to help co-called “Dreamers” that had a chance of passing with Democratic support. Facing re-election, and the ire of Latino political activists, Obama did what he had long said he had no power to do:
In his press release announcing the dramatic change in policy, [Obama] didn’t mention that he had been telling the entire immigrant-rights community for nearly a year and a half that he couldn’t do it. That he had traveled around the country making speeches saying he couldn’t do it. He didn’t say that because Luis Gutierrez and the Hispanic Caucus had been on his back forever about it, he was finally doing it. He didn’t mention that he singled me out during a White House meeting after I was arrested [for protesting] and said, “You say I can end these deportations, but you know I can’t.” He didn’t say that in the end he was outflanked by Marco Rubio. He just did it. And it was the right thing to do. And even though it had taken much longer than necessary, I was extremely grateful for it.
Gutiérrez added: “In the end, all it took was for him to give the Department of Homeland Security some clear direction.” That is the same basis upon which President Trump is now rescinding DACA after a six-month delay.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
This post has been updated to include Obama’s “I can’t do it” comment.