Gutiérrez warns of GOP ‘fear campaign’ against illegal immigrants
Democratic lawmakers are warning that the GOP intends to mount a “fear campaign” directed at immigrants in the country illegally who are in line to benefit from President Obama’s executive action protecting millions of them from deportation.
“There’s going to be fear-mongering from the Republican Party,” Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) told reporters Monday, as champions for immigration reform sought to shift their focus from pressuring the White House for action to convincing eligible immigrants to sign up.
“The fear campaign is just starting,” Gutiérrez said during a press call hosted by America’s Voice, pointing to proposals from some GOP lawmakers who want to block the president’s plan via legislation.
“They are trying to keep our immigrants from signing up just like they were trying to keep people from signing up for ObamaCare.”
Though Gutiérrez had called on Obama to be generous and include farm workers in his action, he said he’s happy the president gave as many as five million people relief that will hold up in any court if challenged.
“I’m not going to second guess the president on this issue,” he said. “The president was cautious. The president was careful. I am thankful to him for the discretion he used.”
A poll released by Latino Decision on Monday found that 89 percent of Latinos support the executive action and 74 percent oppose Republican efforts to sue the president.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said it is crucial that those eligible for relief through the president’s directive come forward.
“I think it will be critically important to show that people are willing to come out of the shadows, go through a background check and pay their taxes,” he said. “When that happens and the sky doesn’t come falling down, all the naysayers will be proven wrong.”
As for those arguing the president’s legal authority, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) pointed to presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, who both took executive actions to reform immigration in the late 1980s.
“It’s lawful and it’s been lawful for many, many decades,” she said. “I think it’s disappointing to hear some of the shrill voices on the other side of the isle … trying to attack things other presidents have done.”
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