Gutierrez made the comments during a Wednesday morning appearance on C-Span while discussing the future of immigration reform.
The Illinois Democrat was asked if the president should stop America’s deportation policy.
“I think the president should continue to expand on his executive authority to stop the deportations of certain groups of immigrants in this country,” Gutierrez said. “I think there are American citizen children, millions of them, millions of American citizen children, which through no fault of their own have parents that are undocumented in this country who are working.”
“Look, there are two types of people that come here," he continued. "There are foreigners that come here and there are immigrants that come here and I make a distinction between the two. The immigrants come here to do valuable work. Valuable, essential, critical work.”
Gutierrez later referenced some calls that came in earlier in the program that focused on deporting those in the country illegally.
“I wish for just one moment I could show the lady in Texas and the other person out in Alabama what the landscape would look like in America if the 11 million were just to disappear. Who would be working in the fields in Georgia? In Alabama? In Mississippi? In the South of this nation? Not to speak about, who would be working in those fields in California?” he asked.
In June of 2012, President Obama took executive action to change Department of Homeland Security policy. The department no longer initiates the deportation of certain illegal immigrants who came to the United States before age 16 and have lived here for at least five years.