Seung Kim, Politico, June 25, 2014
The hope for immigration reform this year has been sucked out of perhaps the most optimistic advocate on Capitol Hill: Rep. Luis Gutierrez.
In a fiery floor speech Wednesday, the Illinois Democrat–the leading congressional advocate on the issue–declared the prospects for reform dead this year and said the only option left is for President Barack Obama to take unilateral action to stem deportations.
Using an analogy from the World Cup, Gutierrez said he had already given a “yellow card” to the House GOP as a warning that if they continued to drag their feet on immigration reform, Obama would move on deportation relief on his own.
Gutierrez had called on Republicans to produce immigration reform legislation before the Fourth of July recess, which begins next week. Other Democrats on Capitol Hill have pressured the GOP to move on immigration bills by August.
“I gave you the warning three months ago, and now I have no other choice,” he said. “You’re done. You’re done. Leave the field, too many flagrant offenses and unfair attacks. You’re out. Hit the showers. It’s the red card.”
“Your chance to play a role in how immigration and deportation policies are carried out this year are over,” he declared. “Having given ample time to craft legislation, you failed.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also noted the political dynamics inside the GOP that he said made him hopeful that House Republicans would move on immigration reform this year.
“They know they have to do it now,” Schumer said of Republican leaders. “I think if they don’t do it, we will win the presidency, the House and the Senate. And then we’ll do it. So they know that.”