Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said Sunday that President Barack Obama has already tried working with Republicans in Congress on an immigration bill, and that he should therefore use his executive authority to give millions of illegal immigrants legal status in the United States.
"We said to the Republican Party, we want to work with you, and the president has attempted to work with them," Gutierrez said on ABC Sunday.
Republicans overwhelmingly won the midterm elections earlier this month, and have said that victory means Obama should give the new GOP Congress a chance next year to consider an immigration bill. Some Republicans have said Obama and Democrats didn't consider a bill when they controlled Congress from 2009 to 2010, and that Obama should not be considering ways to quickly move around Congress illegally.
But Gutierrez, one of the more vocal supporters of Obama's pending executive action on immigration, said the House GOP's failure to move the Senate immigration bill, or any piece of it, shows Republicans will never move.
"When they said, hey, we have to do it in bits and pieces, we said OK," Gutierrez said. "Each and every time we said OK, they refused to act on the issue."
"And why must the president act now?" he asked. "Because millions of American families are depending on the president fixing a broken immigration system."
Gutierrez said the issue is urgent for millions of people living in the United States, many of whom are being deployed as part of the U.S. military, but whose wives are at risk of being deported.