The backlash to President Trump’s cowardly, vindictive elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program today has been swift and harsh. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), however, just took the condemnation to a whole new level.
In a sharply worded announcement, Rep. Gutierrez called the move a “callous and destructive action,” and vowed to fight the President “deportation by deportation, if necessary.” Immigrants, regardless of their status, “are here to stay, regardless of the President’s mass deportation fantasies and objectives,” he proclaimed.
He also used his statement as a call to arms for other Democrats, reminding them that the fight to protect “DREAMers” falls on a continuum of other progressive battles.
“We have stood at airports to resist the Muslim Ban, marched with women to protect their rights, denounced racist and homophobic violence, and fought to defend Planned Parenthood and now young immigrants need everyone’s help,” he pleaded.
Rep. Gutierrez was also quick to point out the conspicuous timing of this announcement, one that fits the emerging narrative that the President is increasingly playing to his xenophobic base to shore up his plummeting approval ratings.
“This Administration is on a very dangerous trajectory towards the full-throated endorsement of white supremacy,” he wrote, highlighting his troubling response to the Nazi and KKK inspired violence in Charlottesville, praising ‘many’ in the torch light rally the night before, and pardoning notorious anti-immigrant Arizona lawman Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
“But this action on DACA,” his statement concluded, “to pull the rug out from under almost 800,000 documented immigrants who have lived here for at least ten years and cast them back into the shadows is the ugliest act of appeasement for the far-right’s white-supremacist goals of them all, so far.”
He saved his harshest words by far for the President’s Chief of Staff, retired General John Kelly, however. When he was still Secretary of Homeland Security, Kelly met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and assured them DHS had no plans to pursue the mass deportation of DREAMers.
“Now as Chief of Staff,” Gutierrez explained, “this former general is executing the plan to take away their lifeline and taking steps to criminalize young people who live and work here legally.”
“General Kelly is a hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear,” he proclaimed. “He has no honor and should be drummed out of the White House along with the white supremacists and those enabling the President’s actions by ‘just following orders.’”
You can read Congressman Gutierrez’ statement in its entirety here.
Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.