Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gutierrez Called On President Obama To Use His Discretion And Executive Power To Halt Deportations

Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

Photos by HNG

Illinois congressman to continue to pursue the DREAM Act.

By H. Nelson Goodson
April 17, 2011

Milwaukee - On Sunday, U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) attended a Voces de la Frontera community gathering as a guest speaker during his listening tour of testimonials and deportations. His tour began in Chicago on Saturday and will head to Detriot and then Charlotte N.C. after Milwaukee. The meeting was held at St. Adalbert Catholic Church basement, 1923 W. Becher St. for members of the southside predominantly Hispanic community to raise their voices and to show support for Gutierrez's quest to pursue passage of the DREAM Act. Last year, the DREAM Act was killed in the U.S. Senate.
Gutierrez said, President Barack Obama has the executive privilege to use discretion and to stop the mass deportations of undocumented parents of more than 4 million U.S. born children. President Obama hasn't kept his word in passing immigration reform or hasn't used his discretion to allow millions of undocumented students to stay in the country while Congress can work out differences and pass the DREAM Act, Gutierrez told the crowd.
One important strategic issue that was not mentioned at the gathering was the economic impact Latinos have in the country. Today, U.S. Hispanics including undocumented immigrants have an ability to flex more than $800 billion to $1.5 trillion dollars in purchasing power by 2013 and can no doubt use it to influence immigration reform in the next several years.
Gutierrez did mentioned that the Hispanic vote can determine a presidential election in 2012 as it did in 2008.
Neither Gutierrez or Voces de la Frontera focused on the economic empowerment Hispanics have generated and the billions of U.S. dollars Latinos contribute into the economy. It seems, they overlooked or just came short of promoting regulated spending by Latinos during the immigration reform movement.
Almost five years have passed since Hispanics united nationally against anti-immigrant bills, marched, and voted in large numbers electing the first African-American president who had promised immigration reform. Even today, "President Obama has failed to keep that promise," Gutierrez said.
Latinos do have an economic impact in the country, but have yet to fully excercise their purchasing power to influence immigration reform. The economic equation is simple to learn, buy from Latino owned businesses and businesses that support the community plus buy only essential items and don't over spend at businesses who don't support immigration reform and the DREAM Act equals economic influence for Immigration reform. Hispanics should learn not to buy from businesses, that won't reinvest in the economic and educational growth of the local community. The economic practice of managing expenditures should last until Congress passes a bill for immigration reform, including the DREAM Act.
About, 400 thousand undocumented immigrants are deported every year from the U.S. and with the Secure Communities Program (SCP) implemented by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the deportations could rise to 800,000 per year.
Gutierrez criticized the SCP for over reaching and not following the memorandum agreement with states, including Wisconsin. Under the SCP agreement, the program specified that undocumented immigrants considered criminals and convicted of a felony should be targeted for deportation. But in many cases, noncriminals have been processed under SCP and hard working undocumented immigrants have been deported, separating families, according to Gutierrez.
Congressman Gutierrez affirmed, that he will pursue the passage of the DREAM Act for millions of undocumented students allowing them to remain in the U.S. to continue their studies at universities and colleges. Currently, Gutierrez is facing an uphill battle, because the Republicans control the U.S. House of Representatives and don't support immigration reform.
Voces organizers say, the broken immigration system is causing harm to millions of U.S. born children and their families through saparations and deportations. Hispanics around the country are facing similar proposed Arizona immigration enforcement copycat type of bills that can lead to profiling and discrimination, if enacted.
In Wisconsin, State Representative Donald Pridemore (R-Hardford) confirmed that he will introduce a similar Arizona SB 1070 by next week in the state. Pridemore's bill will allow police to ask for legal status of suspected undocumented people during traffic stops and investigations. Police could hold a person for 48 hours and can then turned them over to ICE, if they can't prove their legal status in the state and country. Public and city service providers would be required to ask for legal status from people seeking city services.

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