Retiring Democrat Says Colleagues Should Pay Immigration 'Ransom' to Republicans


Democrats may be currently locked in a staring contest with President Donald Trump over the proposed border wall, but a veteran Democratic congressman has an unexpected message for liberals: Republicans are going to win this one.

Outgoing Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, an outspoken critic of the president, spent 26 years in Congress, usually taking on conservatives but sometimes clashing with his own party. As he looks ahead to retirement, the radically liberal Illinois lawmaker has no need to be re-elected … and that means he’s being brutally honest with his own party.

In a message to friends and colleagues in the House, Gutiérrez just admitted that Democrats may have to swallow their pride and make a deal with Republicans, including the president, on the issue of border security.

Although he used the less-than-gracious term “ransom” to refer to funds for the border, the Democrat made it clear that he thinks the left doesn’t have a winning hand on this issue. If immigration reform is to come about, helping the millions of illegal immigrants in the country obtain some sort of legal status, Democrats are going to have to give a little on border security, he said.

“For my friends on the left, remember, there’s going to be a ransom that is going to be required,” Gutierrez told NBC News.

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“Pay it. It’s the right thing to do, because we’re never going to be able to overcome the 60 votes in the Senate.”

That’s a very different message than many Democrats are parroting right now. Most have pinned the government shutdown on Trump, despite the fact that the situation could be ended overnight if Congress approves the $5.7 billion requested for the border wall.

“There are people on the right that are going to want certain things,” the Illinois lawmaker continued. “I don’t know if we have to give them a wall … but we’re gonna have to sit down and negotiate.”

Those words may run contrary to the liberal narrative, but Gutiérrez has a record of going against the grain.

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Elected to Congress in 1992, he battled his own party’s leadership as well as Republicans almost immediately, NBC reported.

“Years later, he was getting arrested outside the White House in protest of President Barack Obama’s deportation policies, pressuring him to keep a campaign promise to get comprehensive immigration reform passed,” NBC stated.

“I gave Obama hell and I’m not regretting it,” Gutiérrez told that network. “I believe that what I did was the right thing to do, but I gave him hell.”

We certainly can’t endorse everything Gutierrez says, he’s too far gone to the left for anything like that. But like a stopped clock, even a radical progressive can occasionally be correct.

The reality, though the left hates to admit it, is that securing the border and dealing with illegal immigration was a main plank of Donald Trump’s political platform. In even previously blue states like Michigan, voters went for Trump based on promises of a wall, or at least improved border security.

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To now pretend that the president is off the reservation — or his rocker — just because he is trying to keep that major campaign promise is rather silly.

As the Illinois congressman correctly pointed out, Democrats will get nowhere if they continue to fight the president at every turn instead of at least attempting to work with him.

As Gutiérrez said, the Democrats’ takeover of the House is largely useless if they’re unable to move bills through the Senate or overcome Trump’s veto power. Admitting that you hold weaker cards is never easy, but in politics, poker, and life, sometimes folding a hand is the wisest move.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.