Rep. Gutierrez: Don't Make It Easier To Send Illegals Back

Rep. Gutierrez: Don't Make It Easier To Send Illegals Back

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) believes illegal immigrant children from Central America should be treated differently from those from Mexico. While illegal immigrant children from Mexico can be immediately deported, those from countries “other than Mexico” cannot under current law.

When asked if he would support Rep. Henry Cuellar’s (D-TX) bill “to reverse that 2008 law, which would mandate basically that undocumented children are treated — from Guatemala and Honduras and El Salvador are treated the same way undocumented children from Mexico are and they are sent back immediately to their country of origin,” Gutierrez, in a CNN appearance on Wednesday, said, “No, I would not support that legislation.”

“It’s a long established position of American jurisprudence,” he said. “It’s the law of the land. Reasonable people in reasonable times put that law.”

Under that law, which President George W. Bush signed, illegal immigrant kids from countries other than Mexico or Canada “must be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services within 72 hours and can be placed with a ‘suitable family member’ in the United States.” Cuellar and other officials have said a vast majority of these children who are released to a “suitable family member” never show up for their immigration proceedings, which can take years. 

At least 52,000 illegal immigrant children have unlawfully entered the country since October of last year, and federal officials expect at least 150,000 more will next year. The number of illegal immigrant children entering the country, especially those from Central America, has spiked since President Barack Obama enacted his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012.