Updated: October 7, 2013 5:23PM
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) — long the face of immigration reform — told the Chicago Sun-Times he still believes a bill can make its way out of the U.S. House this session, despite the ongoing stalemate from the government shutdown.
“I think it’s important to put pressure on Congress. I think we are in a very dark, bitter contentious moment in which you are not able to discuss this or any issue,” Gutierrez told the Sun-Times today. However: “I still think we have an opportunity later this year.”
Gutierrez, who is in New York City promoting his new book: “Still Dreaming; My Journey from the barrio to Capitol Hill,” said he’s still optimistic that immigration reform will happen, arguing he believes the numbers are there. He put the timetable more toward Thanksgiving.
“No longer is it the group of eight or the group of seven,” Gutierrez said, referring to the “Gang of Eight,” U.S. lawmakers who worked together to hash out an immigration reform, bipartisan compromise in the U.S. Senate. Gutierrez said he’s hopeful pointing to the consensus reached in the U.S. Senate. “Clearly a majority exists” who are in favor of reform, he said. He pointed to a recent report that said more than 80 House Republicans support legalization — not full citizenship — for the undocumented.
“Just look at that. That’s a reality, that means there’s going to be an inordinate amount of pressure … to get it done,” he said.
As for his book, Gutierrez said he wanted to give people a front-row seat to growing up in Chicago — as well as a front-row seat to being a member of Congress.
“I enjoyed writing about my city, which I love so much and my experience growing up in the City of Chicago,” he said.
“Really, my story is a continuing story of new migrants to the United States of America.”