The day following the second GOP presidential debate Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) again railed against Donald Trump for his comments on immigration, saying they are inspiring immigrants to apply for citizenship.
“That’s right, apply for citizenship and you can vote for whoever you want to vote for, and you could even vote against the guy who called your whole ethnic group rapists, murderers and drug-dealers,” Gutiérrez said in a speech Thursday on the House floor.
“That kind of ugly, un-American attack is moving people to apply for citizenship and moving citizens to become voters,” he added.
The Illinois lawmaker has been among Trump’s most vocal critics in Congress, frequently taking to the House floor to condemn the GOP frontrunner for his positions on immigration and statements about criminal immigrants.
Thursday, Gutiérrez argued that Trump’s “racism” is leading immigrants to seek out his office’s assistance in apply for citizenship and registering to vote.
“Appeals to racism and immigrant bashing are creating a predictable backlash in the neighborhoods of my district in Chicago,” he said.
“People are calling and coming into my office asking what they can do to push back and very specifically, those who are not yet citizens are asking how to become citizens and those who have not registered to vote are asking how to get that done,” Gutiérrez added.
On Saturday, the congressman is slated to hold a workshop at the Instituto del Progreso Latino to offer immigrants help in understanding and applying for citizenship.
He noted that to date his office has assisted more than 50,000 people become U.S. citizens.
And, for those immigrants worried about the cost of citizenship, Gutiérrez stressed that they could apply for a fee waiver to become a citizen for free.
“Not only will we help people understand the process, we will help them figure out if they qualify for fee waivers so that the $680 application fee that people have to pay is not a barrier,” he said.
Gutiérrez’s call for immigrants to become citizens and vote against Trump and the Republican Party coincides with the Obama administration’s launch of a new campaign to encourage the 8.8 eligible legal permanent residents in the U.S. to become citizens.
“I am looking forward to meeting the hundreds of people who will be working towards their citizenship this Saturday in Chicago,” Gutiérrez concluded Thursday. “The way we respond to racism is voting and in Latino and immigrant communities, we are getting that message loud and clear.”