Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) on Wednesday morning said Republican rhetoric in favor of enforcing and reforming U.S. immigration laws is to blame for the taunting of Latinos and immigrants by white Americans.
Gutierrez said a Puerto Rican point guard for Kansas State was met with taunts of "Where's your green card?" during last week's NCAA tournament game against Mississippi State. He also said that in Texas, fans of a white high school recently chanted, "USA, USA" after beating San Antonio's Thomas Edison high school, which comprises mostly Latin American youths.
"The truth is, when it comes to Latinos and immigrants, far too many so-called leaders in our nation are starting the taunts," he said.
"On the campaign trail, and on talk radio and on TV and even here, in this chamber, there are leaders that act like the biggest bullies in the schoolyard. If elected officials have no boundaries when it comes to scapegoating and demonizing immigrants and Latinos, why should young people at a basketball game know any better?"
Gutierrez said Romney supports Arizona's immigration law, which he said "essentially demands racial profiling of anyone who looks like they might be undocumented." Gutierrez added that Romney has attacked Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latin American Supreme Court justice, as unqualified, and the DREAM Act, which would give illegal aliens permanent U.S. residency status.
Gutierrez also pointed out that two House Republicans have made controversial anti-immigrant remarks. Without naming him, Gutierrez noted last year's comment by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) that he would do anything to stop illegal immigrants "short of shooting them."
"Maybe hanging them?" Gutierrez asked. "Gassing them?"
Again, without naming him, Gutierrez noted comments attributed to Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) that illegal immigration is a "slow-rolling, slow-motion terrorist attack on the United States."