Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez of Illinois is convinced that comprehensive immigration reform can be passed by the Congress and signed by the President this year, but only if the American people make their voices heard. He will appear at a community forum in Denver with Colorado Representatives Diana DeGette and Jared Polis on Saturday to talk about the progress being made in Washington and what people can do to encourage action.
"The President is already using his bully pulpit and fruitful conversations are taking place between the parties all over Capitol Hill," Congressman Gutierrez said. "I am so glad to have a chance to stand with allies in Colorado like Diana DeGette and Jared Polis and hear from immigrants, business owners, community groups, and average voters what they want to see in an immigration reform bill and how they can work with us to make it happen."
Rep. Diana DeGette invited Rep. Gutierrez and Rep. Polis to join her at the community forum she is organizing at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church (1980 Dahlia Street, Denver 80220) on Saturday, February 2 at 11:30 am MT. Capacity is limited, so attendees are asked to RSVP to Rep. DeGette's Office at 303-844-4988 or DeGette.RSVP@mail.house.gov.
Representative Gutierrez is the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and participated in a meeting last week with President Obama to discuss immigration. The CHC released its principles on immigration reform (link) in November 2012. In 2005, Rep. Gutierrez introduced the first bicameral, bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill, along with the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Senator John McCain (R-AZ), and Representative (now Senator) Jeff Flake (R-AZ). A version of the McCain/Kennedy/Flake/Gutierrez bill passed the U.S. Senate in 2006 but House Republican leaders at the time refused to let the measure move forward to final passage.
"What is broken about our immigration system has not changed and the bipartisan policy solutions on the table have not changed much in the last eight to ten years," Congressman Gutierrez said. "What has changed are the politics and the fact that Republicans are back at the table. Also, the urgency of the demand from the American people has increased in volume as more than 1.5 million people have been deported since 2008 and no significant reforms have been enacted by Congress."
The Congressman is planning a series of events around the country in the coming months leading up to a week of action around the country and a rally that immigration reform supporters are planning in Washington on April 10. The House Judiciary Committee, of which Rep. Gutierrez is a member, will hold its first hearing on immigration on Tuesday, February 5 in Washington.
"We deport 1,000 people per day and hundreds of them are the parents of U.S. citizens, leaving broken families, orphaned children and neighborhoods under siege. We cannot afford to wait for another year or for another Congress. The people voted in November and I am joining my colleagues in Colorado this weekend to make sure the message is heard loud and clear in Washington."