Yesterday, the bipartisan group negotiating an immigration reform bill in the House announced that it was continuing to move forward towards introducing a bill, but that Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) was leaving the group. The remaining group of seven -- Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Rep. John Carter (R-TX), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) -- will finalize the legislative language and introduce their bill in the coming days or weeks. The following is a statement from Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and a Member of the Judiciary Committee.
"Congressman Labrador was a very important part of the group and contributed a great many good ideas to the process. I am sorry to see him pull out, but I think he will be tremendously helpful in getting immigration reform passed by the House and signed by the President this year when all is said and done.
"We are still in the early stages of a very long process of getting our immigration system overhauled. There is a commitment within the group's remaining members to craft legislation that will attract votes from both sides of the aisle and we resolved every issue, including whether immigrants could receive critical health care during the long period they will wait while working towards legal status and citizenship.
"There are still many things in this bill I don't like and many things my Republican colleagues don't like, but that is what it takes to compromise, move forward, and solve the vexing problems we have with our immigration and deportation system. The children of deportees I met with yesterday, the immigrants I meet around the country, the clergy and employers and law enforcement that are fighting for immigration reform want us to keep moving forward and we are.
"I guess they will stop calling us the gang of eight, now. I am hoping they start calling us the Magnificent Seven."