Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) on Thursday pushed President Obama to act decisively on immigration reform through executive action, saying it would determine his legacy.

Gutiérrez said people are wrong to believe that Obama’s legacy has already been written six years into his presidency.


“I said, ‘no.’ It is going to be in the next 30 days,” he said on MSNBC. “What he does is going to be the legacy of the president."

Obama has tasked his administration to develop executive actions he can take on immigration and deportation after concluding Congress would not act on a comprehensive bill. He is expected to make a decision by the end of the summer. 

The president faces a difficult decision with immigrant advocates expecting strong action, while some GOP lawmakers have threatened to use budget votes to block any moves.

Many immigration advocates have called on Obama to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to the broader immigrant population. 

Gutiérrez predicted Obama would likely allow two-year work permits to illegal immigrants who have been here for at least 10 years, have established roots and have been regularly employed.

They would also have to pass a background check and have their fingerprints taken, he said.

"I think the president is going to pick a date," he said, adding that he predicts the plan would apply to nearly 6 million people.

The Illinois Democrat said Obama had given Republicans numerous chances to make progress on immigration reform to no avail. 

"There are a dozen very anti-immigrant, xenophobic members of the House of Representatives in the Republican majority that just have a stranglehold," he said. Gutiérrez said they had blocked any immigration reform even though many others in the GOP want reform. 

Gutiérrez has been a leading voice pushing the president to take broad action. He met with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) and a group of leaders in Chicago on Wednesday to prepare for the expected reforms.