Gutiérrez​ in Spanish Remarks: GOP ‘Want to Punish Our Community’

by Andrew Johnson

Representative Luis Gutiérrez​ (D., Ill.), one of the most prominent proponents of comprehensive immigration reform, offered a noticeably harsher message about Republicans when he switched to Spanish during a recent press conference.

Joining the Congressional Hispanic Caucus as the House awaits a vote on a border bill, Gutiérrez​ first spoke in English, criticizing Republicans’ approach to addressing the border crisis and accusing them of putting political gain over helping the unaccompanied children crossing the border. The remarks were critical, as one would expect; the furthest he went was to claim that Republicans speak about Hispanics “almost as though we are a vile, repugnant community to them that they vilify and demonize in every one of their statements.”

He then said he would make some remarks “en español.” Gutiérrez started by saying the issue at hand was about protecting the rights of the children on the border, DREAMers, and millions in the country illegally. He claimed that the president had the authority to grant legal status to these groups and would act to do so soon, which is the reason Republicans are moving so quickly to stop him. He went on to take a much fiercer tone than he had in his English comments. Here is what he said in Spanish:

Ellos saben que él​ va a actuar pronto — ellos quieren mantener esta crisis para condenar a nuestra comunidad, una comunidad sin derechos para nuestros niños en este momento, nuestros soñadores, y para millones de otros que el presidente ha dicho que él​ quiere ayudar. Eso es que ellos quieren. Quieren castigar nuestra comunidad, y ese castigo va a ser recibido con un castigo electoral. Asegúrense que nosotros no nos vamos a olvidar del maltrato que nuestra comunidad ha recibido.

The English translation:

They know he’s going to act soon — they want to maintain this crisis to condemn our community, a community without rights for our kids at this moment, our DREAMers, and for millions of others that the president has said he wants to help. That’s what they want. They want to punish our community, and that punishment will be met with an electoral punishment. Be assured that we are not going to forget the mistreatment our community has received.

The vote on the newly amended bill is expected to take place on Friday evening.