Meltdown: Lawmaker Claims Trump DACA Framework an ‘Extension of the White Supremacist Agenda’
Left-wing congressman Gutiérrez blasts president's insistence on making system work for America
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) claimed the set of immigration principles President Donald Trump issued Sunday represented “an extension of the white supremacist agenda” that seeks to “criminalize and delegitimize Latinos,” during an interview late Sunday with The Washington Post.
The president sent a letter to congressional leaders from both parties Sunday that included 70 points he wanted to see agreed upon in order to strike a deal with Democrats on protecting so-called dreamers — beneficiaries of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act — illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. The issues fell within three main categories: border security and wall funding, interior enforcement measures, and the implementation of a merit-based immigration system.
Democrats and liberals swiftly rejected the Trump administration's immigration enforcement and reform stipulations and many — including Gutiérrez — immediately resorted to their common, hyperbolic criticisms. Left-wing activists and lawmakers alleged the set of principles were new evidence the president is racist, anti-immigrant, and anti-Hispanic.
"I warned Democrats not to negotiate, to say that what we wanted was a clean DREAM Act," Gutiérrez, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, told The Post. "They're throwing everything and the kitchen sink in terms of enforcement. I just never understood it."
Claiming that the president "has never wavered from his xenophobic positions," Gutiérrez, a staunch advocate of illegal immigration and open borders, said he "never understood" how the Democrats could even considering "reaching an agreement" with Trump following the Charlottesville controversy.
Accusing the president of consorting with "white supremacists" by saying that blame existed on "many sides" for the deadly, race-fueled rally in Charlottesville, the congressman from Illinois insisted that it would be impossible for Democrats to strike a deal on immigration with Trump.
"It's an extension of the white supremacist agenda — what they want to do is criminalize and delegitimize Latinos," Gutiérrez said of the Trump administration's policies.
In response to Trump's demands, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a joint statement Sunday saying that "the administration can't be serious about compromise or helping the dreamers if they begin with a list that is anathema to the dreamers, to the immigrant community, and to the vast majority of Americans."
"We told the President at our meeting that we were open to reasonable border security measures alongside the DREAM Act, but this list goes so far beyond what is reasonable. This proposal fails to represent any attempt at compromise," Schumer and Pelosi said. "The list includes the wall, which was explicitly ruled out of the negotiations. If the President was serious about protecting the dreamers, his staff has not made a good faith effort to do so."
But many GOP members praised Trump for demonstrating his commitment to the immigration enforcement policies he campaigned upon successfully in 2016.
"The immigration reform policies outlined yesterday by the Trump administration reinforce the President's pledge to the American people to fight for their interests and restore law and order," House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said in a statement Monday. "We applaud the administration's leadership on principles that will be critical to any immigration policy changes."
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) praised the president for issuing "a serious proposal to address the enforcement of our immigration laws and border security" while seeking to strike a deal with Democrats for protecting dreamers. "As a member of the Speaker's working group on immigration, we will take time to review the administration's priorities and consider their implications for our immigration system and the rule of law."
"One thing is clear, however: We cannot fix the [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA] problem without fixing all of the issues that led to the underlying problem of illegal immigration in the first place," he added.