Rep. Gutierrez: Obama Can Unilaterally Give Work Permits to Illegal Aliens

By Susan Jones | August 28, 2014 | 7:31am EDT

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) is a leading congressional voice opposing Alabama’s new law. (Photo: Gutierrez Web site)

( - Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) says he's been meeting with White House and Homeland Security officials "for months now," and he thinks he knows how President Obama plans to bypass Congress on immigration reform:

"Here is what I believe is going to happen. He (President Obama) is going to say, God, there's over six million undocumented workers that have been here 10 years or more. And they have established roots in their community. They have American citizen wives. They have American citizen children..."

Gutierrez told Fox New's Neil Cavuto that President Obama cannot "like a magic wand," grant citizenship to those people.

But -- "He can say things like, well, if you have American citizen children and you have been here 10 years, and you can go through a background check, right, you have got to go through a -- and you're ready to pay to go through that, and you're ready to register with the government, I will give you a work permit for two years, until the Congress of the United States finally decides to deal.

"And then you will pay your taxes. You will work legally in the United States for a couple of years. And he can grant that for a couple of years to millions of people. I think he can do that."

Gutierrez insisted that the White House has not told him what's going to happen, even though he is spreading the word before the announcement is made:

"Do not tell your viewing audience that I have heard this from the White House. I have not heard this from the -- this is what I believe is going to happen. This is what I am betting is going to happen. And because you and I are friends, I'm sharing (with) you my thinking on the issue, which may not -- which may not be the same as the White House."

And if the president does not grant legal status to millions of illegal immigrants?

"Well, then I think we will have missed an opportunity to use executive authority to help millions of American citizen children, five million of them, who have undocumented parents. And they're going to continue to live in fear," Gutierrez said.

Cavuto said he's been hearing from both Republicans and Democrats that if President Obama does act unilaterally on immigration, Democrats can "kiss the Senate goodbye."

"I think we have to stop playing politics with good public policy," Gutierrez responded. "I think we need to put the interest of our economy first. Our high-tech industry needs changes that the president can make. Our agricultural industry, we provide -- provide us the food that we eat every day.

"And millions of people that do pretty good work and are pretty good people and have an immigration problem, they want to register with the government. I think it's going to make us safer. I think we need to put safety first, ahead of politics."

If Obama does what Gutierrez expects him to do, there will be "millions of people in jubilation, happiness, in America that they no longer have to fear being separated from their husbands and wives and children," he said.

Cavuto, tongue in cheek, asked Gutierrez: "Congressman, tell us when this event you don't know is going to happen, is going to happen?"

"Here's my hope. It will happen before the election," Gutierrez said. "Sometime in the next 45 days before the election, because I think there should be no political consideration or consequences considered. We should do it because it is the right thing for America to do."

President Obama announced in late June that he was "beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress."

Obama said he had directed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to identify “additional actions” he could take take on his own -- "to do what Congress refuses to do and fix as much of our immigration system as we can.

“If Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours," Obama said. "I expect their recommendations before the end of the summer, and I intend to adopt those recommendations without further delay.”

In mid-August, a White House spokesman told reporters that Obama's immigration announcement is still expected at "the end of summer."

Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) said Republicans fear that Obama is going to "try to create some sort of bizarre matrix that goes beyond the DACA....and say, well, if you have been in the country for a certain period of time or done certain things, then you are going to fall into this new special amnesty category.

"But think of the unintended consequences," Schweikert warned: "We see what happened to our borders when we did the deferred action on the DREAM Act. Could you imagine what is going to come screaming at our borders all from all around the world if there is a perception that the president has just created amnesty?"

Schweikert also appeared on Cavuto's show.


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