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Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Luis V. Gutierrez
STILL DREAMING: MY JOURNEY FROM THE BARRIO TO CAPITOL HILL
President Obama faces an increasingly tough tightrope on immigration, with advocacy groups demanding he take the lead on the issue but Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill saying the more involved he gets, the less likely a deal becomes.
House Republican leaders said Wednesday they are still intent on holding an immigration debate in their chamber this year, though they said it will not be on the kind of broad, comprehensive plan the Senate passed and that President Obama has demanded.
Earlier this summer, there were predictions that the outcry from conservatives would sink the chances for immigration reform. Instead, advocates have out-organized opponents, rallying in cities across the country as they try to convince House Republicans that the politics of the issue have changed.
President Obama's non-deportation policy for children turns a year old Thursday, and both sides agree it's a test run for a broader legalization — one that has thrilled immigrant rights groups who say it has broken stereotypes and changed the political calculus, but that has worried enforcement advocates who say illegal immigrants are being given blanket approval without enough attention to fraud.
Seeking to revive the chances for getting an immigration bill done this year, dozens of immigrant-rights activists staged a sit-in and got arrested at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday — and they vowed to repeat the civil disobedience throughout the country the rest of the summer.
A House panel pushed forward Tuesday with the Republicans' step-by-step approach to immigration reform, taking up proposals that carve a pathway to citizenship for the children who were brought here illegally at a young age and cueing up debate on whether their parents should also be accommodated.
Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat who's also a member of the leftist Congressional Progressive Caucus, called for the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on Trayvon Martin.
At 1,075 pages long, it's not the biggest bill to come through in recent years — that honor still belongs to the health care law — but the immigration legislation pending in the Senate is challenging the ability of voters to get their brains around its complexity.
Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday that he'd be all right with breaking up the immigration bill into smaller pieces, but said the most important part of this month's debate will be how best to improve security so voters believe government is finally serious about controlling the border and weeding out illegal immigrants.
House Speaker John A. Boehner on Thursday flatly ruled out chances of the House passing the Senate's immigration bill, saying his chamber will debate its own bill instead.
Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez said Thursday that President Obama squandered his chance to take the lead on immigration, and said the best role the president can play now is to cheer along the progress in Congress and try to rally support outside the Capitol.
Thousands of immigrant rights activists rallied on the lawn in front of Capitol Hill on Wednesday, saying Hispanic voters delivered for President Obama last year and now want to cash in on his promise to legalize many of the estimated 11 million in the U.S. illegally.
Top House leaders said Tuesday they're inching closer to an immigration deal they can bring to the floor for a vote "in the near term," and political momentum continued to build across the Capitol with Sen. Rand Paul adding his voice to those calling for the GOP to take a softer line on illegal immigration.
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee laid out a go-slow approach on immigration Wednesday, saying he doesn't think having President Obama write a bill and demand that Congress vote on it would be successful.
To battle the patronage-heavy Daley machine, he says, was to stand up for the taxpayer.
"I was an English-speaking American kid dropped into the middle of a Caribbean island," he says of his 16-year-old self. "I was living the contradictions between Chicago and San Sebastian,"