by CAROLINE MAY
WASHINGTON D.C. – With President Obama expected to announce executive action on immigration reform soon, Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutiérrez says he is telling people to “get ready.”
“It’s music to my ears that someone would have a source at the White House that say it’s 5 million. Let me just say, tomorrow, the next day, and all of this week we’re getting ready,” he said.
Gutiérrez appeared on MSNBC’s Jose Diaz-Balart after MSNBC senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing said that senior White House officials expect Obama to grant executive amnesty to around 5 million illegal immigrants after his European trip to Estonia and Wales next week.
Reports have indicated that the executive action President Obama is planning to make by the end of summer could legalize some 5 million undocumented immigrants.
According to Gutiérrez, such a move would be “huge” and will require a lot of work.
“If it is 5 million, Jose, then that would be five times as many as when the president freed the dreamers from deportation, when he instituted [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] in June of 2012. When he said we’re not going to deport anymore immigrants that arrived here as children and you saw how was it, Jose, that our community was ill prepared,” the Illinois Democrat said.
“The structures were not in place to help those people,” he continued. “So I’ve been going around meeting with major news organizations, newspaper editorial boards, columnists and others here in Chicago for the last three weeks telling them we have get prepared as a city. And prepare a model for the nation because when 5 million people are allowed the opportunity to come out from under the shadows and into the light of day and get legalized, it’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of capacity of our community but I’m really looking forward to that challenge.”
Gutiérrez, along with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, gave Obama a wish list of executive actions and urged Obama to legalize all of the illegal immigrants that would have qualified under the Senate’s amnesty bill.
After meeting with Obama at the White House to urge him to be as “broad and generous” as possible with his executive amnesty, Gutiérrez assured La Raza month that Obama assured him he would take steps to “stop the deportation of our people.”
Tony Lee contributed reporting.