Rep. Luis Gutierrez offered a curious set of responses to a question about how the high unemployment rate among U.S, workers affects his newly presented legislation (HR 4321) to legalize all illegal immigrants who entered the country before December 15.
Gutierrez was interviewed by Univision's Jorge Ramos for the Sunday Spanish-language program, Al Punto. First, he danced around the issue of whether legalization would mean job competition for U.S, workers. Second, he said it explained why his bill —- to the dismay of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- did not provide for hundreds of thousands of guestworkers to enter the country every year to take low-wage jobs.
Rather than addressing the issue of job competition, the Illinois Democrat changed the subject. First, he waxed enthusiastic about the bill's provision of a fast-track process for immigrants already established here to bring millions of residents to live here. Then he talked about the bill's provisions to strengthen border security, expressing alarm at the fact that drug dealers often manage to slip their contraband past DHS officials at the border. Then, moving closer to the topic, he said, "Let's not fool ourselves; the 12 million (illegal immigrants) are working now." And then, with a touch of grandiosity, he added that his message to his bill's critics was: "Luis Gutierrez, through this program, is going to make sure that they also pay their taxes."
After that diversionary interlude, Gutierrez invoked the issue of job competition as he dismissed criticism from the Chamber of Commerce: "How are you going to put into a bill a program that provides 400,000 to 500,000 new visas when unemployment is at 10 percent?" he asked. He didn't say why his bill would provide visas to 100,000 new workers every year (in addition to increases in family immigration).
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