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Democratic legislator slams Obama for failure to deliver on immigration reform, warns of Latino backlash at the polls

Many Latinos are furious at President Obama for failing to deliver on promises to push immigration reform legislation and may stay away from the polls during this year's midterm elections if they don't see concrete progress, including legalization of undocumented immigrants, a key Democratic legislator said Monday.

“People are angry and disillusioned,” U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Chicago) said in an interview with The Times.

Gutierrez said that Obama’s failure to push immigration reform was symbolized by his State of the Union address last Wednesday, when he devoted only 38 of about 7,300 words to the issue. The “throwaway line,” Gutierrez said, was the final straw for many activists who have been perturbed by the continued pace of deportations and other enforcement actions without concomitant progress in moving reform legislation forward.

Gutierrez said he was short at least 12 votes in the House to pass his immigration legislation, which would legalize most of the nation’s 12 million undocumented migrants, provide more family visas, increase worker protections and offer other reforms. He acknowledged that selling the bill to the American public at a time of double-digit unemployment would not be easy.

But he and Los Angeles labor leader Maria Elena Durazo argued that legalizing undocumented immigrants would help the nation’s economic recovery by raising their wages and allowing them to spend more consumer dollars.

To push their cause, he said, immigrant rights supporters were organizing a national mobilization on March 21.

Without progress, the congressman warned that many Latinos would stay home from the polls this year and for the 2012 presidential election. According to exit polls, Obama received 61% of the Latino vote in 2008, boosting him to victory in the former Republican strongholds of Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Florida.

“We need to hold all of our political leaders accountable,” he said.

Gutierrez was to speak at an immigration town-hall event on Monday at La Placita Church in downtown Los Angeles. The meeting, which will feature several elected officials, immigrant rights activists and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, is aimed at bringing renewed visibility to the issue.

-- Teresa Watanabe

Comments () | Archives (81)

Are these politicians representing Americans? Why are they pushing to represent other country citizen? These politician should be voted out of office. Our tax dollars are already funding their education, food stamp, hospital bill and social service. Now we want to give them free citizenship. How about help out citizens of this country first.

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Mexico City) should be arrested for treason. He is putting the well being of millions of invaders over that of the citizens of the United States.

Thats is right they got to solve this problem as early as possible. legalization would brought strong economy in us.

Legalizing 12 million or more illegal immigrants by passing a bill is NOT REFORM. It is awarding an illegal behavior. Just call it what it is - AMNESTY, NOT REFORM. Reform means changing to fix what is wrong, NOT changing to make it all wrong. While we're at it, why not just get rid of all border patrol, the entire Justice Department, including homeland security, INS, customs, etc. Is Gutierrez a U.S. Congressman, or a Mexican Congressman? Seriously. As for being disillusioned, talk about the kettle calling the pot black... a Congressman disillusioned by another...

He's nuts. We are moving away from a consumer based economy, as we should, into focusing on high-tech, educational based economy. Companies will just fire the workers with newly-raised wages and hire more illegals. They have no idea how the system works. We need to keep going after business that employ illegals; that helps illegals and legals by constantly pressuring for legitimate wages.

Please support the immigration reform ... I have been in the united states since I was three years old.. I want to attend college and finish my law degree...

I agree,

Nothing has changed and its still the same. But then again the great majority of latinos don't vote..

I think every one just needs to give obama a break. He has alot on his shoulder and if people stop critizing maybe he can do his job.

The following is just my opinion but immigration is related to everything that goes on, the jobs bill, health care reform, name it and it's all related, I do not understand, as a black woman, I know first hand on 2accounts that change takes time. I am still waiting for equal pay for equal work, the right to choose and as a black person, the line of wait is long. I don't understand the impatience, it has only been one year, this is not the time to jump ship, people who are elected need to help the President move the campaign agenda forward. I get calling out the President, after you've called him, made a visit and the man still did not listen and or agree or even ignored you. I am inclined to think anyone who counts the number of words to decided the fate of immigration has not gone that last hurdle to find out just exactly what is going on. I am sad to see big Dems coming out this way, it undermines how people will vote. I would never vote for a representative who makes threats to the President to hold back voters? that is very bad policy. I think anyone who does business in this manor whether a democrat or not is a very poor representation of the people. I ask that all Democratic politicians to help make the change we all voted for, it cannot be done by only the President, the people voted you in as well, what have you done to move the agenda forward?

"Los Angeles labor leader Maria Elena Durazo argued that legalizing undocumented immigrants would help the nation’s economic recovery by raising their wages and allowing them to spend more consumer dollars."

what a crock. How about deporting the 12 million, and letting some of the 33 million unemployed have those jobs. Now how would that be for helping the nation's economic recovery?

This is just more special interest pro amnesty nonsense. What we need is mandatory E Verify and to punish every company that hires illegal immigrants. This would put many of our unemployed citizens back to work and paying taxes. 8 million illegal immigrants hold jobs here, I think citizens and legal immigrants would benefit greatly if that number were reduced.

The notion that raising immigrant's wages so they could have more purchasing power and buy more goods and thus benefit the economy, doesn't hold truth, in my opinion. It is a well known and proven fact that most of these dollars are sent home to their families in their country of origin.

Besides, when did undocumented workers become eligible to vote to affect an election anyway?

"Including legalization of undocumented immigrants".

So now you admit they are illegal?

I happen to agree that legalizing illegal immigrants would be beneficial, because then the government can start collecting proper taxes on income from both the workers, and employment taxes on the businesses (and OH are they gonna be pissed about that).

But to blame Obama for not "moving" fast enough? Hello, a) he's only be President for a year, and he's had stuff to do, and b) he's not a dictator - he can't just pull a Chavez and order congress to do his bidding.

Finally, this guy can blame the democrats, and say "Oh, they'll pay in the polls!!!", but who would the latino community vote for?? Lou Dobbs? Sarah Palin? Newt Gingrich?

If people want anything to get done, they have to start talking to Congress too. They are the real stick-in-the-mud for ANY kind of reform, whether it be campaign finance, health care, immigration. You name it, they ain't lookin at it.

The President can't do a damn thing unless 500 other people are willing to go along with him. That's how a republic works.

I agree but I think he should have warned him of his failure in general. Obama hasn't delivered anything worth talking about and I don't think betrayal fully expresses his failure to work on comprehensive immigration reform. He has sacrificed real and tangible solutions for his idealism: the dream of achieving bipartisan legislation. I'm idealistic too, but I think it' about time Obama gets real and takes advantage of his Democratic majority, or else it certainly won't last much longer.

How much can POTUS deliver in one year!? We all would benefit from more access to healthcare, tax cuts, jobs.

As an law abiding legal immigrant, I'd feel sorry only for those that followed the rules and are still waiting, especially if these scofflaws broke the law and got rewarded with this [entitled right] to citizenship.

Any citizen that would push for illegal immigrants to be allowed citizenship is just plain unpatriotic. Any representative representing illegal immigrant is a self serving politician who wants to gain constituents through creating them, not through democracy.

Why do we even have immigration laws if we are going to reward people who are here ILLEGALLY by giving them legal status? Let's just get rid of the INS (or is it ICE now?). The logic employed here also makes no sense. If we deport those who are here illegally it will also free up jobs for unemployed US citizens so then can make money and then spend it and thus help the economy.

While we're at it, let's eliminate the speed limits since the majority of drivers don't obey that either. The easiest way to get rid of an illegal problem is to make it legal, but that doesn't address the issue. It just allows people to bury their head in the sand (or somewhere else) and ignore the real problem.

Let them may stay away from the polls and clear the way for the election of Tea Party candidates. That will ensure that issues of interest to the Latino community get more prompt attention. It will not be the first or the last time people will act against their self interest.

Labor union households in Massachusetts were so frustrated with the pace at which the administration was moving the "Employees Free Choice Act" that many stayed at home and many more voted for and elected Scott Brown effectively killing the Employee Free Choice Act, probably for a generation.

“People are angry and disillusioned,” U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Chicago)
Gutierrez and Martinez have been trying to thug the American People for a long time. Congress listened to them.. not us.. and we got as far as we did. I hope.. very much, that Obama looked at the numbers and decided there are far to many Americans unemployed in a very, very different economy, and we need those jobs for the citizens.

Estimates are as high as 900 billion for the total cost of amnesty. That idea is totally unacceptable.

Do we all understand that the population on the east coast of the United States has grown so much that they are actually trying to prevent rain water from entering the Chesapeake Bay? We have huge problems with our country, and we cannot delay solving them. Read and weep:

No to amnesty.. yes to the American People.

If liberals and hispanic traitors think the fight (and victory) over socialized medicine was ugly... they ain't seen nothin yet.

These simpletons DO NOT understand the American people , do not understand our collective power and continue to underestimate us at every turn. Good.

These people constitute the LOWEST common denominator in terms of intelligent/critical thinking. In a word - they be dumb.

After we kick this pile of illegal/amnesty crayp to the curb , the next President in 2012 will be MANDATED by the American people to do some REAL illegal immigration reform. Permanently. Finally.



Louweegie272--- of those millions of jobs that you say 'illegal' immigrants hold, how many American-born citizens do you see filling them?

Most of those jobs are in the service, agricultural, and construction sectors, and to be honest, I simply don't see someone who was recently laid off his/her job at ___ firm scrambling to go take a low-paying job in the fields, for example.

Don't blame the economic troubles and joblessness on illegal immigrants-- the current situation has its roots in years past and blaming it on one group of people is myopic, one-sided thinking that gets no one nowhere.

The latino community may be upset but he has re-gained the support of the American citizen. I was ready to write him off and vote for the Republicans but talk of jobs and lack of talk about amnesty has made me think he may be listening.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform should be passed because it is the right thing to do for the economy, for the immigrants who are here working, and for our country. Congressman Gutierrez has shown leadership on this. When immigration reform is done, it will be one of the important legacies of the Obama administration. There were detractors before civil rights were afforded African Americans. Let's all move forward together to make the United States a better place for all.

with so many Americans out of work, losing their homes and an inability to make ends meet this act by a special interest legislator should be seen for what it is. ask this same fool what they've done lately for any American citizen?

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