Soon to retire, Rep. Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois could handle no more of Pres. Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address on Tuesday before standing up and leaving. Quickly. I’d say “stormed out” but only little bitches “storm out” and Rep. Gutiérrez is no little bitch. Dude OWNED the chamber. He didn’t hesitate. Not for one minute. The son of Puerto Rican immigrants and a longtime advocate for DREAMers particularly, the bizarre chanting on the floor of the House chamber of “U.S.A….U.S.A…” sent him over the top.
With all of the loud rhetoric tonight, his quiet protest spoke volumes.
Rep. Gutiérrez isn’t very patient when it comes to the causes he champions. He famously called out Pres. Barack Obama for not keeping his campaign promise of tackling immigration reform in his first year of office. He has, in fact, been arrested for protesting Washington’s immigration failures. He’s not a complicated guy. He is focused. Very. In short, he ain’t playin’. From Newsweek:
Gutierrez, 56, is the most passionate, tireless, and nettlesome voice in Congress on immigration matters. He’s a constant presence at rallies and on TV, defending the undocumented and railing against xenophobia. It’s no surprise that a recent Pew Hispanic Center survey ranked him the second-most-important Latino leader in the country, after Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. “He’s as close as the Latino community has to a Martin Luther King figure,” says Frank Sharry, founder of the pro-immigrant group America’s Voice. Yet Gutierrez’s tactics are controversial. While many admire his tenacity and credit him with keeping immigration reform alive, others, including members of the Obama administration, believe his confrontational style can be counterproductive. He sees things more simply. “I have only one loyalty,” he says, “and that’s to the immigrant community.”
After the address, Gutiérrez put out this statement.
— Marspe (@themfi) January 31, 2018
Transcript via gutierrez.house.gov.
Washington, DC – Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) issued a statement after listening to the President’s State of the Union address. Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Even though I disagreed with almost everything he said, for Trump, the speech was clear and well-delivered. Whoever translated it for him from Russian did a good job.
I am still hopeful, but I don’t see this Congress and this President coming to an agreement that prevents the deportation of the Dreamers. The White House agenda is to gut legal immigration in exchange for allowing some of the Dreamers to live here. For those of us who support legal immigration, and that’s most Democrats and many Republicans, it won’t fly. And the Dreamers themselves have said they do not want legal status if it comes at the expense of others who will suffer more as part of the bargain. The speech did nothing to bring the pro- and anti-immigrant sides closer together.
I was hoping for some sort of apology on Puerto Rico, but I heard nothing. Puerto Rico is a metaphor for how this President sees all Latinos and people of color: he does not see us as his equals and he does not see us as fellow human beings. If you look at how the President has treated Puerto Rico, you have to conclude that he just doesn’t care and probably thinks of Puerto Rico as just another shithole country.
I was born in 1953 in the U.S. when separate but equal was the law of the land. I am proud of the progress the United States has made as a nation on issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and many other areas where we have advanced. I was hoping to get through my life without having to witness an outwardly, explicitly racist American President, but my luck ran out.