Gutierrez: Immigrants Should Be Allowed To "Unite" Entire Family; Bring Dad, Brothers, Wife & Children To U.S.

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Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) said that in a congressional meeting Wednesday, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly stopped talking about a border "wall" and started talking about a "barrier." In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, the outgoing Congressman also expressed his outrage at Kelly for using the term "chain migration."

Rep. Gutierrez argued that "family-based visas" are necessary because that is "where you unite." The House Dem said an immigrant should be able to eventually bring their whole family -- father, brothers, wife, and children -- with them because "that would be a good thing to have."

"[Kelly said] we need you to end what he calls chain migration which everybody in the room felt very offended by the term," Gutierrez complained. "He said we need to end chain migration which is family-based visas. That is where you unite. That is where, I don't know, I show up and I say you know what, I'd really like my dad because that would be a good thing for me to have as an immigrant. And I my brothers, and I want my wife and children so we can build a family."





Gutierrez said immigrating the whole family to the U.S. is like President Trump inheriting the family business from his father, something that he would hope to pass on to his children one day. He said the Trump family has made "family-based decisions" about their business and said immigrants should be able to do that too.

"I shared with him that I found it extraordinary that the president would say that since he inherited the business from his dad. And he has the business and his children are going to inherit. The Trump family has made family-based decisions on their business. And that is what immigrants want, right?" he said.

LUIS GUTIERREZ (D-IL): Here's how I remember it, he was talking, he said the president promised The Wall, 50 feet high from sea to shining sea. That's not going to happen. He stopped talking about 'wall' and started calling it 'barrier.' He said in some places the barrier would be, the fact that it is so inhospitable, that no one would come through there, that's The Wall. In some places it would be a drone, other places it would be border security agents. Other places it might be a concrete wall. But he said, look, think of it as [a] barrier.

And here is what I think the most telling thing is, he shared with us that, he said the president made promises during the campaign about The Wall and those promises were not informed promises. And that he as the chief of staff and the former head of DHS has educated the president and informed the president and his position now have evolved because he says, look, I told the president, I've talked to governors and I've talked to Congresspeople and I've talked to mayors and we just cannot build this concrete wall and so -- that was just as clear. That was in response to a question we asked: could you please tell us what you mean by a wall because intuitively, we thought that was something that was still not exactly clear.

ANDERSON COOPER: It has been reported that Kelly said he was optimistic about Congress getting a DACA deal done. Did he give you any timeline? Any sense that the White House is open to a DACA solution in the short-term spending bill?

GUTIERREZ: Here is what he did say. He said the DREAMers can stay. That's done. Permanent residency, citizenship, they're not going anywhere. And he repeated that three times in very unequivocal terms. But then just as quickly he said we need a wall. We need billions of dollars for a wall. We need you to end what he calls chain migration which everybody in the room felt very offended by the term.

He said we need to end chain migration which is family-based visas. That is where you unite. That is where, I don't know, I show up and I say you know what, I'd really like my dad because that would be a good thing for me to have as an immigrant. And I my brothers, and I want my wife and children so we can build a family.

I shared with him that I found it extraordinary that the president would say that since he inherited the business from his dad. And he has the business and his children are going to inherit. The Trump family has made family-based decisions on their business. And that is what immigrants want, right?

We come, and we bring our parents and we create businesses and opportunities. And I thought for a moment, wow, he said, 'I believe in merit-based immigration.' And I said to myself, does he understand that he's talking to 25 members of Congress, almost all of those that are here because their moms and dads came here -- most in low-skilled jobs -- and now we're members of Congress and our kids are going to college and I expect my grandson to be a neurosurgeon one day.

That is the way that America is truly built.

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