Dem Rep. Luis Gutierrez: Trump Immigration Plan "Absolutely Racist," My Parents Would Not Be Allowed In

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In a Sunday morning appearance on MSNBC, Illinois Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez denounced the immigration reform bill announced this week by President Trump and Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue as "racist."

In a statement last week, Gutierrez said the Republican plan made it clear that "if you are brown, black, Asian, or anything other than an English-speaking, highly-trained technician, the Republican Party doesn't want you here."

"You're going to tell me that Senator Rubio's parents wouldn't have made it through this. My parents wouldn't have made it through it. They didn't have a college education, they couldn't speak English and, yet, Rubio went on to the Senate and I went on to the House of Representatives," he said about the move to make English language skills a factor in immigration policy.

Gutierrez explained that the effort to get rid of The Diversity Immigrant Visa program is racist. The program makes up to 50,000 immigrant visas available annually to randomly selected individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The Trump plan is to set up a merit-based system which takes into account technical and language abilities.

"90% of the 'Diversity Visas' go to who?" Gutierrez asked rhetorically. "Black people. Who live in Africa-- Sub-Saharan Africa and the Carribbean. And you're just going to eliminate it?"

"I think this is absolutely a racist proposal... Senator Rubio's parents wouldn't have made it through this. My parents wouldn't have made it through it. They didn't have a college education, they couldn't speak English and, yet, Rubio went on to the Senate and I went on to the House of Representatives."

"English has always been an important part of our immigration policy," he conceded. "But you know when you pass an English test? You pass it when you become a citizen of the United States. [Not before you arrive]."

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ: I think this is absolutely a racist proposal. If you take diversity visas-- Everyone knows they want to eliminate them. 90% of the diversity visas go to who? Black people. Who live in Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa or the Caribbean. And you're just going to eliminate it?

You're going to tell me that Senator Rubio's parents wouldn't have made it through this. My parents wouldn't have made it through it. They didn't have a college education, they couldn't speak English and, yet, Rubio went on to the Senate and I went on to the House of Representatives. I think this is an anti-American and it is based -- Alex, when you talk about, when you have a President of the United States that walks down those escalators and announce he's running for president and says Mexicans are murderers, rapists, drug dealers and we need to get rid of them, and then you say, let's make English [a requirement].

English has always been an important part of our immigration policy, but you know when you pass an English test, Alex. You pass it when you become a citizen of the United States. When you want to take that ultimate step. That's always been there and I think it always will be.

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