Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke with Juan Williams at the Democratic National Convention about the importance of young undocumented immigrants known as DREAMers, Mitt Romney’s immigration ‘nightmare,’ and undecided Latino voters.
“We need to seal the deal, we need to cement it,” the Illinois Democrat said. “It’s not whether or not Barack Obama is going to get 70 % of the Latinos that cast a ballot, but how many ballots are cast and whether they are cast in crucial states or battlegrounds.”
Gutiérrez believes the ‘true battleground states’ in November will be Florida, Nevada, and Colorado, but he is confident Latinos will swing the states toward President Obama.
“I think those are our voters,” he said of undecided Latinos.
Rep. Gutiérrez has been a leading force in Congress in support of the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act, which passed in the House but failed in the Senate, would give undocumented students brought as minors a pathway to citizenship if they attend college or serve in the military.
He blasted presidential candidate Mitt Romney for backing Arizona's controversial SB1070, which criminalizes undocumented immigrants.
“(Romney) says SB1070 should be the model for the nation and that self deportation should be what undocumented immigrants should do – that’s a nightmare for our immigrant community,” Gutiérrez told Fox News Latino from Charlotte, N.C.
Not only is Romney’s immigration stance a nightmare, Gutiérrez said, but it’s a Republican problem.
“The problem with the Republican Party is, I think a lot of Latinos are shutting them out because they aren’t going to listen to them intellectually to their arguments…because their hearts are closed to them because they are being so mean spirited.”
On Wednesday night, Gutiérrez spoke before Benita Veliz – a teenage DREAM Act activist and undocumented immigrant – who took the stage at the DNC to recount her plight.
“I have had to live almost all my entire life knowing I could be deported just because of the way I came here,” Veliz said. “President Obama fought for the DREAM Act to help people like me.”
For Gutiérrez, Veliz is the face voters need to remember when they think of young undocumented immigrants.
“When Latinos see literally people that can be their children, and see the kindness and generosity of the government United States to give them a chance,” he said “That’s what government should be about – taking care of the least among us.”