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"What We Have Now is Momentum" Rep. Gutierrez Statement on Immigration Reform


Location: Washington, DC

Today, a bipartisan group of Senators announces the framework for comprehensive immigration reform legislation and a major address by President Obama is expected tomorrow in Nevada. A delegation from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) met with President Obama at the White House on Friday and a range of conversations between Republicans and Democrats continue in the House aimed toward building support for immigration reform. The following is a statement from Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL), the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

We are on track to pass a bipartisan bill this year that legalizes millions of immigrants, keeps families together, strengthens our country, and eventually allows immigrants to apply for citizenship. All of the pieces are falling into place. We have not signed on the dotted line and some important details are yet to be resolved, but what we have now is momentum. Momentum, plus encouragement from the American people, the President, and immigrant and Latino communities, will get an immigration bill across the finish line this year.

As the President told me in the White House on Friday, immigration reform is his number one priority. Combine that with a serious bipartisan framework in the Senate and very constructive conversations with my House colleagues in both parties and I am confident we are poised for action and not just more talk on immigration reform.

I will be in Colorado next Saturday with local leaders, clergy and elected officials to start a national tour to build support for immigration reform. I want to work with Democratic and Republican colleagues to lift up the voices of the people and families who will benefit from immigration reform. This includes immigrants who fear deportation and who are marginalized in our society, but everyone -- employers, working men and women, and other segments of society -- has a stake in reform and need to be heard.

The principles that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) laid out in November still guide me as I evaluate every new proposal and where a proposal is weak, I will work with those lawmakers to strengthen it. The most important thing right now is to keep the various efforts moving forward and not to draw lines in the sand. Every proposal can be amended at some point and so I am optimistic that the CHC will have a significant input on any final proposal.

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