Gutierrez ‘Delighted’ by Boehner Immigration Push
Posted at 5:25 p.m. on Jan. 31
Gutierrez (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Speaker John A. Boehner’s immigration push was met with mixed reaction in his conference, but he has won over a key Democratic advocate for an overhaul: Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez of Illinois.
Gutierrez said he was “delighted” to see the Republican push for an overhaul and called Boehner’s immigration principles “an excellent starting point” during a conference call Friday.
He cautioned his Democratic colleagues that they aren’t going to get everything they want, and if they press too hard for changes, they will wind up with ”no immigration reform at all.”
“Democrats are not the majority of the House of Representatives,” he noted.
Indeed, Boehner has already warned Democrats he won’t be heading more in their direction.
“These standards are as far as we are willing to go,” Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said on Thursday. “Nancy Pelosi said yesterday that for her caucus, it is a special path to citizenship or nothing. If Democrats insist on that, then we are not going to get anywhere this year.”
Gutierrez sounded fine with Boehner’s statement, noting that immigrants could still eventually become citizens.
“It doesn’t say no pathway,” Gutierrez pointed out. “It says no special pathway … Nobody’s saying we are giving up on citizenship.”
Gutierrez is a leader on the issue of immigration and influential among his peers; however, he is not an official leader in his party’s power structure.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., joined Gutierrez on the conference call, convened by America’s Voice on Friday.
“The magic formula that we’re going to have to have to get this done has a majority of Republicans and a vast number of Democrats,” said Diaz-Balart, suggesting an immigration overhaul bill passed through the House would have to contain some provisions ordinarily unsavory to members of the GOP.
Republicans, for instance, are going to have to swallow legal status language in the same gulp as that of border security, whereas many would simply like to see the Obama administration increase enforcement first.
Diaz-Balart suggested the border security language will have to be strict.
“There is a great distrust of this administration,” noted Diaz-Balart. But, he said, “We’re closer than ever … [I'm] optimistic that we will be able to get it done this year.”