Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) was reelected to his eleventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the Fourth District of Illinois. He spoke at a press conference organized by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (www.icirr.org) to discuss the national and local election results and the role of immigrants, Latinos, and the immigration issue. Rep. Gutierrez is Chairman of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He issued the following statement:
I have been saying that the road to the White House goes through Latino neighborhoods. When I traveled toFloridaandNevadaandColoradofor the President, it was clear to me that Latino voters were energized and engaged and ready to believe that the President will fight for fairness for immigrants in his second term. I am so proud of Latino voters and their massive turnout. In state after state and in the nation as a whole, Latino voters made the difference for President Obama and for Democrats.
Mitt Romney and the Republicans drank the anti-immigrant Kool-Aid during the primaries and they never recovered. But let’s be clear, the President and Democrats cannot be satisfied that the other Party is repulsive to most Latino voters and lots of other voters as well. Democrats must actively attract voters to their positions on jobs, health care, same-sex equality, equal rights, and, especially with Latino voters, immigration reform.
It was an act of faith that Latino voters pulled the lever in overwhelming numbers for President Obama who has deported more than a million immigrants. Now, the President must work with Congress to live up to that faith. The President should call Republicans and Democrats to the White House who want to chart a reasonable course forward on immigration and begin the process of delivering.
I am ready to work with the President and anyone else who is serious about solutions for the American people and for immigrants. The massive deportation and destruction of families must stop. We need a legal immigration system that works, a system of enforcement with integrity, and an end to the fantasy that ten million people or more should leave the country.
I am grateful to the voters of the Fourth Congressional District who reelected me and the new constituents I represent in my District inCicero,Berwyn,Riverside,South Lawndaleand elsewhere. My staff and I are here to serve and thank you for your faith in us.
The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for the value of immigrants and immigration to our nation.
“Today our nation witnessed the strength of democracy in action. An extraordinary number of voters, including record numbers of Latino, Asian and New American voters, went to the polls clamoring for practical solutions that honor our values and move our nation forward.
“The message was clear: President Obama must fulfill his campaign promise and work with congressional leaders to create a common-sense immigration process that treats all people with dignity. And Republicans must choose pragmatism over extremism on immigration, putting forward practical solutions that create a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring Americans.
“In the words of CNN political analyst David Gergen earlier today, ‘Whoever wins, we will get immigration reform. The Democrats want it and the Republicans need it.’
“President Obama can look to a growing alliance of conservative faith, business and law enforcement leaders who are laying the groundwork for bipartisan support on immigration reform.
“Look no further than Grover Norquist, a conservative power player, for a key example of the emerging consensus among conservatives and moderates on a common-sense approach on immigration. As Mr. Norquist recently stated, ‘Immigration is the most important thing to focus on if you’re concerned about America as an economic power. It’s not only good policy to have more immigrants to the United States … [and] a path forward for those people who are here; it’s also good politics.’
“Today’s election marks the introduction of something different: a powerful bipartisan alliance that expects pragmatic immigration solutions from President Obama and the 113th Congress.”