A top Hispanic Democratic Congressman is threatening to tell his supporters to stay home in the November elections if the Democratic Party does not move on comprehensive immigration reform.
“We can stay home,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez (Ill.) told the Hill. “We can say, ‘You know what? There is a third option: We can refuse to participate.’ ”
Gutierrez (above with top Irish American pol Joe Crowley) was a key ally for President Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.
He’s a pretty smart pol,” says Crowley (D-N.Y.), a leader on immigration in the Irish-American community.
Crowley says Gutierrez is well-liked in the Democratic Caucus and is an incredible coalition builder..
Now Gutierrez says Latinos have lost patience with Obama.
He says activists will step up their efforts to put immigration at the top of Democratic radar.
“We’re going to make it uncomfortable for the Democratic Party,” Gutierrez said. “There’ll probably be civil disobedience. There will probably be a number of different actions. What we have to do is we have to break through this wall of silence, because we’re invisible.”
Another Hispanic leader in Congress, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), says Latinos are losing trust in the president because of his failure to act on the issue.
The effort to legalize the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants has been crawling along for some five years.
Gutierrez was a lead co-sponsor of the bill that passed the Senate in 2006, along with Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
When the effort collapsed Gutierrez, 56, said he would retire from the House but changed his mind to pursue what is now the cause of his career.
“This has kept me in Congress,” he said.