It took a little longer than I expected for U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez to comment on the Trump administration’s new policy on how to deal with immigrants who are here illegally. Even by the Chicago Democrat’s standards, the verbiage is beyond hot.
“You could call it a strategy of attrition through terror,” Gutierrez said in a statement, referring to much tougher rules issued yesterday on who can be immediately deported.
The policy “has made almost every single undocumented immigrant the highest priority for deportation,” Gutierrez said.
“Bannon, Sessions and Trump don’t have the resources to round up and deport 10 million immigrants, so they are strategically injecting fear into immigrant communities and making the police, churches and the courts danger zones for immigrants,” he said, referring to White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “They want to turn the American people against immigration by driving home the lie that immigrants are a criminal element that detracts from, rather than enriches, American life.”
Speaking of the administration, Gutierrez, a longtime advocate of immigrant rights, referred to “President Bannon and his spokesman Donald Trump.”
The congressman did not mention that Trump appears to have backed off his pledge to immediately deport 750,000 so-called Dreamers, the most politically sensitive group whose fate is on the line. But Trump gave no assurance that won’t change later.
The new actions appear to have had one side effect that Team Trump may not have anticipated: Gutierrez said he’s seeing “a huge surge” in applications for citizenship, with “lines stretching out the door” of his Northwest Side office.
Local GOP congressmen so far are pretty quiet on the order. But with Congress out of session, members are scattered around the world, so perhaps it will take a little longer.