For Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a passionate, liberal Democrat of Puerto Rican descent, there is no more important issue in the year-end budget showdown than protecting from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children — and who have only known America as their home.
The fate of these “Dreamers,” as they are commonly known, is one of the trickiest issues to resolve as the White House and Congress seek to avert a Christmas government shutdown that nobody says they want. House Democrats, and their leader, Nancy Pelosi, insist that the Dreamers be dealt with as part of a broader package that combines unfinished legislative business, including military spending, disaster aid and low-cost health care for children.
“You want a bipartisan budget and you want my vote? Then make it an American budget, one that includes a pathway to freedom for our Dreamers,” Gutierrez