There is a joke that goes, “how can you tell when a politician is lying? Answer: When his lips are moving!” Last Tuesday I attended a protest outside the Capitol building sponsored by Casa De Maryland and the very misguided Service Employees International Union (SEIU.) I would say somewhere north of 2,000 protesters showed up to demand congress pass what is now being termed a “Clean” DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) bill that will grant legal status to roughly 800,000 individuals who were brought to the United States as children.
One of the speakers at the event was Illinois Congressman, Luis Gutierrez. Gutierrez grabbed headlines back in September when he was arrested outside President Trump’s home in New York City to protest Trump’s decision to allow DACA to expire in March 2018.
Gutierrez actually gave two speeches that day. One of them was at this protest and the other was earlier onthe floor of the House of Representatives. Later that evening I took the time to watch the video of his
floor speech and while both dealt with getting permanent legal status for children of illegal immigrants, the speeches varied in content in several respects.
On the floor of the House and outside the Capitol building, Gutierrez gave rousing and passionate speeches. But in his floor speech he spoke only about legal status for the roughly 800,000 DACA recipients and urged the House of Representatives to pass the Dream Act (HR 3440). While in his speech outside later that day he stated the goal was not just the DACA recipients, but their parents. He then went on to say they weren’t stopping there and would not be satisfied until they gave legal status to the “aunts and uncles” as well. In short, what Congressman Gutierrez wants is an amnesty for 11 million people and not just 800,000. When I worked in technology there was a term known as “feature creep” that described features continually being added to a product to the point where it just was either no longer economically feasible to get it out the door or just too complex to operate. We are seeing a form of feature creep when it comes to immigration reform, wherein the proponents of open borders keep adding groups such as those here on Temporary Protective Status (TPS) into the mix.
Moreover, in his speech outside the Capital building Gutierrez offered ultimatums over constructive democratic debate and compromise. Gutierrez stated that he would only accept a clean DACA bill with no amendments and that if he didn’t get it, he would not vote for the budget. I can’t imagine him trying to explain to his constituents why he chose to shut down the federal government because he did not want to compromise on a bill for immigrants.
Yes, Americans overwhelmingly support showing mercy and compassion to those who illegally entered the country through no fault of their own. But according to a recent Gallup Poll, more Americans favor restricting immigration than increasing it. In addition, don’t forget Donald Trump was elected in part on a platform to reshape our immigration system into one that works in the interests of the citizens and not those who profit from the exploitation of immigrants.
Logic seems to dictate that the passage of a Dream Act is so important to certain interests, then its proponents should be open to compromise. We here at Progressives for Immigration Reform believe a good compromise would be passage of the R.A.I.S.E. Act (SB 354) for a Dream Act. Senator Tom Cotton’s R.A.I.S.E. Act would go a long way in curbing many of the abuses of the current immigration system. Moreover, it would be in the best long-term interests of the citizens and the DACA recipients.