Former U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez is coming out of retirement to announce the formation of a new immigration reform organization.
Gutierrez says he plans for his organization, Our Nation’s Future, to help the 9.2 million permanent residents in the U.S. — more than two-thirds of whom are Latino — cross the finish line to citizenship through workshops across the country and advocating for a streamlined immigration system.
“I spoke to many of the community based organizations that are out there helping immigrants and they told me they didn’t have much capacity for additional applications for citizenship within the organizational framework,” Gutierrez said. “In my 26 years in Congress, we did over 50,000 citizenship applications as a member of Congress right here in the city of Chicago. So we know how to do this and to increase the numbers.”
Gutierrez says getting immigrants not only naturalized but also engaged in the electoral process is crucial to getting representation in office to addresses their concerns.
“I believe that immigrants are invisible on the national stage of this country and become more and more invisible each and every day we are not a priority. We are a priority for Republicans to attack and we’re a priority for Democrats to exploit politically for political gain,” he said. “I look at my colleagues in Hispanic congressional caucus and I say there are over 35 of you. How is it that Senator Manchin can have more power than you have? How is it that you have not demanded comprehensive immigration reform? How is it the Dreamers that we finally were able to free under Barack Obama in 2012 are still languishing without any permanency in this country?”
Though Gutierrez is himself a Democrat, he said his organization will help all immigrants regardless of their personal political views.
“Soon after we announced Our Nation’s Future, the Republican National Committee announced that they were investing millions of dollars in helping immigrants become citizens of the United States of America,” he said. “It’s our job to go out there and to help facilitate this process. Ours is a non for profit 501c(3) organization. But I know that people will vote for their self-interest. It will be our job to get them to vote in a manner in which defends their self-interest.”