Retiring Rep. Gutiérrez urges Dems to pay ‘ransom’ for immigration reform

Outgoing Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), an outspoken advocate for immigration reform, urged Democrats to pay whatever “ransom” necessary to make progress on the hot-button issue. 

“For my friends on the left, remember, there’s going to be a ransom that is going to be required,” Gutiérrez told NBC News in an interview published Friday. “Pay it. It’s the right thing to do, because we’re never going to be able to overcome the 60 votes in the Senate.”

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“There are people on the right that are going to want certain things,” he added. “I don’t know if we have to give them a wall … but we’re gonna have to sit down and negotiate.”

The comments come as Democrats seek to move forward a variety of legislative priorities, including immigration, when they take control of the House of Representatives next month. Near the top of the list is formulating a bill that would protect the nation’s "Dreamers," immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as minors. 

However, Democrats and Republicans are currently in a bitter negotiation over President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrumps light 97th annual National Christmas Tree Trump to hold campaign rally in Michigan 'Don't mess with Mama': Pelosi's daughter tweets support following press conference comments MORE’s demand for $5 billion for a border wall as part of any legislation to end what is now an eight-day partial government shutdown. 

The president’s allies on Capitol Hill have praised the policy, saying it is vital to border security, while Democrats have called it a “non-starter” for negotiations on a spending bill.