A small contingent of Republicans are letting intraparty threats and parochial viewpoints hold up immigration reform and damage their national brand, Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez said Tuesday.
Mr. Gutierrez of Illinois said he never left the table when House Republicans demurred on an immediate path to citizenship or comprehensive approach to dealing with the millions of illegal immigrants in America.
“Every time we said yes, they found a way to say no,” Mr. Gutierrez told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, has signaled his caucus will not move on comprehensive immigration reform this year — midterm elections are in November — as the party does not trust President Obama to implement the law as written.
Mr. Gutierrez and others say that is a ruse designed to hide fears of a tea party insurrection against GOP leadership or anger in certain home districts.
“There are already dozens that are willing to do it,” Mr. Gutierrez said of his Republican colleagues.
Mr. Obama said Monday he is ready to act unilaterally given the deadlock on Capitol Hill.
He plans to shift agents from the interior, where they are responsible for deporting illegal immigrants, to the border to process the surge of children and families trying to gain entry to the U.S.
Mr. Obama also said he will take more action by the end of the summer to try to halt even more deportations from the interior once he gets final recommendations from his attorney general and homeland security chief.
Mr. Gutierrez said Republicans ought to get on board with reform because Hispanic Americans are turning 18 by the day.
Otherwise, he said, “You’ll never be a national party again.”