Congressman Gutierrez: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

October 23, 2011

LEGAL, longterm foreign worker at
OCUPY USCIS RALLY, Saipan CNMI, US
photo by Itos Feliciano ©October 2011
I used to regard Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) as a hero for immigrants. I was one of his ardent supporters, following his speeches and involvement in the movement for immigration reform. He is an outspoken advocate for the DREAM Act and for comprehensive immigration reform.

In April 2011 Rep. Gutierrez even went on record as saying he may not support Obama in his bid for a second term because the President failed to deliver immigration reform during his first term.

But after co-sponsoring H.R. 1466, I no longer see Rep. Gutierrez as an immigration hero or true reformist. Rather, I regard him and the other so-called "immigration reform champions" that co-sponsored H.R. 1466 as hypocrites who cannot be trusted to advance the cause for all foreign workers and immigrants. They appear to be cut from the same cloth as the typical politicians who have taken our country away from the very ideals and principles upon which it was founded. They are no different from the politicians who use sound bites with constituents to ensure their re-elections, but will support their political allies even if the bill or position conflicts with the words that they mouth to the public. True statesmen put their words into actions and stand by their principles every time that they enter the Halls of Congress and every time the sign their name to legislation. True advocates stay true to their causes.

Yesterday Congressman Gutierrez was in Alabama where he spoke to a mass rally "for the basic rights of all people" against Alabama's anti-immigrant law. From the article:
Many speakers drew parallels between the legislation and the struggle for blacks' civil rights in the 1960s. 
Were it not for voices who fought for equality back then, Gutierrez said he and many others in Congress would not have a voice today. "We intend to do justice with that voice," he said.
Yes, he is absolutely right. Many of us also see clear parallels between H.R. 1466 and the post-Civil War Black Codes that proposes restricting travel and maintaining disenfranchisement for only 4,000 of the 16,000 legal, long-term aliens currently in the CNMI. Under the Slave Codes, Black Codes, P.L. 17-1 and H.R.1466 people are viewed as labor units, instruments or tools to fuel the economy, rather than as human beings deserving of human and civil rights. So wrong, so un-American.

Why, if Rep. Gutierrez supports a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented (illegal) aliens does he not support the same for the estimated 16,000 legal aliens in the CNMI? His action is especially hypocritical since he attacked President Obama for what he perceived as his failures to deliver to the undocumented immigrants.

In May 2009 I participated in an Immigration Roundtable with members of the Hispanic, Progressive and Asian Pacific American Caucuses. The central message that continually repeated was, "We must not attach isolated reform measures to bills that would address only one issue in a piece meal fashion. Rather, we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform that embraces all immigration issues including the DREAM Act, visa issues and even CNMI green cards for nonresidents." So how did these members –Gutierrez, Napolitano, Velazquez, Baca, Honda, Grijalva, Gonzalez, Chu, and others– come to betray the legal foreign workers of the CNMI? These immigration champions should be the ones supporting permanent residency for and a pathway to citizenship for the CNMI's 16,000 legal, long-term foreign workers.

In a press release regarding the unjust, un-American Alabama law, the Congressman stated:
"When people are scared to send U.S. citizen kids to school because a state has asserted its alleged right to sow discrimination and division, there is something very wrong in America. When local governments deny access to water unless you can prove your status, when judges say you can only press charges against an abusive husband if you are willing to be deported, when a law turns neighbor against neighbor, we have to shine a spotlight on it and say: this is not America."
I absolutely agree, and I would add this:

When legal foreign workers can live and work on U.S. soil for 5, 10, 20, 30 or more years and then be excluded from any legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship to illegals aliens, then this is not America. When legal foreign workers are divided and discriminated against for not having a U.S.citizen spouse or child, then this is not America. When legal, long-term foreign workers are disenfranchised even after 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 or more years, then this is not America. When so-called immigration reformists support legislation that would restrict travel for a legal, foreign worker then this is not America. When members of Congress can propose a better status for undocumented aliens than for legal aliens than this is not America.

See also this post and H.R. 1466 Cosponsor Must Explain! 

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

This guy wears immigration reform as a badge of honor. Google "Gutierrez" and you find immigration reform. His act of signing HR 1466 may come to haunt him if his followers learn of this. Too bad these members didn't step up to use the CNMI as an example for the country and push for status. After all, the NMI's CWs are legals, as you pointed out. Even if some with no jobs left the NMI, that would represent a drop in the bucket for the US to absorb.

The Saipan Blogger said...

Nobody wants to tell an indigenous person they are a walking eagle - so full of crap they can't fly.

Anonymous said...

HR 1466 sponsors and Secretary J. Napolitano p[ease stop harassing us CNMI long term alien workers. Respect the U.S. Constitution and be fair to us legals alien workers. Read it and stick to its rules so that we can experience the true Federal Immmigration Law.

the teacher said...

Wendy, do you oppose HR-1466? I understand not being happy with it, and I understand what you would prefer, but HR-1466 is on the floor, and they will ask yea or nay...no in between.

I would vote yes, with the well being of so many US citizen children at stake, I could not oppose this bill.

Wendy Doromal said...

Ron:

You read this blog so you should know that I support amending or substituting the bill to include ALL legal, long-term foreign workers with a status that exists in the INA, permanent residency. HR 1466 will also go to the Senate where it could be amended if it makes it to the floor by the end of the year.

Anonymous said...

These Democrats are indeed hypocrites of the worst kind. With that said, I'm still surprised liberal Wendy has the guts to call them out. Either they have a position or they don't. Time to stop flip flopping. Green cards should be granted to the legal OCWs and these people must know what they should do. What's with the Asian Caucus for goodness sakes. These are Asians we are talking about.