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Public Statements

MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

Interview

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

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SCHULTZ: And we are back. You are just hearing there from Congressman Luis Gutierrez delivering a powerful message to the Republicans today. He says the time for immigration reform is now. And he could be right. Overwhelming support from Latino voters lifted President Obama to victory on election day. And this is part of the reason Latinos voted Democrat. The president took action after years of failed attempts at reforming immigration. In June, President Obama issued a directive to end the deportation of illegal students and military veterans. A Bloomberg poll showed 64 percent of Americans agreed with the policy. Independents backed it more than 2-1. The Hispanic Pew Center estimates the president`s directive affected 1.4 million people, but that`s only 12 percent of the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States. So today, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus spelled out their expectations for permanent change. They say the time has come for comprehensive immigration reform.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GUTIERREZ: America`s immigrants have every right to feel anger about how they have been treated, ignored, mocked, lied to and ridiculed. We need to set that anger aside.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: We will find out if the Republicans can set aside their differences or if they will disappoint a vital and very important voting block, the Hispanic community.

I am joined tonight by Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois. Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.

GUTIERREZ: Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Your caucus laid out nine principles for immigration reform. First, I understand that you want undocumented immigrants to register with the government, give fingerprints and get background checks. You also want
them to learn English to get citizenship. Is this in many respects -- I think some conservatives would agree with this. I want your take on this proposal.

GUTIERREZ: Look, we want to get them right with the law. I want them to fulfill the same responsibility that you, Ed, and I do as citizens of the United States of America.

The only thing is, I want to guarantee them an opportunity to be able to pay taxes, to learn English, to learn about our Constitution, to embrace.

You just showed a clip from a swearing-in ceremony. I was there with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. We swore in 47 new citizens of the United States. They came from every continent of America. And this story is as old as America.

I can just imagine that when the first Pilgrims arrived here and they saw a boat off in the Atlantic Ocean, they are saying, oh, more people coming, we found this nice place. We`ve always had this fighter struggle. But in the end, every new immigrant that has come here has faced the challenge of coming to our nation, and in the end, you know what we did, Ed, we embraced them. And they have made our nation a stronger, more diverse place. And they made us the wonderful democracy we are today. So my Republican friends should take a lesson from the election. What the electorate said is, stop pitting one group against another. We are ready to make ourselves safe. The only way to make ourself safe is by allowing people to come out of the shadows and register with the government and be good citizens and be good partners and be committed people.

SCHULTZ: You know, Congressman, obviously, the economy has taken top
priority. But what about this? Do you have assurances from the president that this is the path he is going to travel in his second term?

GUTIERREZ: I have absolutely no doubt that this administration --

SCHULTZ: And are you going to get what you want, do you think?

GUTIERREZ: I think the president is going to roll up his sleeves in an unprecedented manner and make sure. For two reasons. No. 1, he saw what happened on election day. He saw Colorado. He saw Arizona. Even Arizona, where we may have lost, he saw the gains that we made there. In New Mexico and in Nevada and Florida. He saw a community come forward and embrace him in his position, No. 1.

Plus, this president knows, it is the right thing to do. It is the right thing to do, to allow people to come out of the shadows. And as Democrats, we are going to allow everyone.

One of our principles today that we made sure of is that when we look at family, we look at same-sex marriage families as families too. We see those partnerships as valuable partnerships. We want a holistic approach. We are Democrats. We are going to stand up for what`s right and we are going to stand up for a country that is more inclusive and more respectful of everybody.

SCHULTZ: Congressman Luis Gutierrez, good to have you on "The Ed Show" tonight. Thanks so much.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you.

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