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Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works Now | Participants



Congressman Luis Gutierrez

As soon as you dip your toe into immigration policy you hear about Rep. Luis Gutierrez-- the 8 term Congressman from Chicago is a tireless advocate for immigration reform and has been working on the issue for so long that on Spanish language TV they sometimes call him "Moses". We first met him in 2002, when the House Democrats were hammering out their principles of immigration reform. Rep. Gutierrez had introduced his own bill-- a bill so liberal and so immigrant friendly that people in DC didn't take it very seriously. But it was part of his long term strategy to mobilize the immigrant community and make sure that when the moment was ripe for reform he would be in a position to shape it.

Over the years we saw that strategy come to fruition-- first he introduced a slightly more moderate bill, then he started working with Evangelical Christians who had ties to Republicans, then he did a bill with Sen. Kennedy and Labor, the next year a bipartisan, bichameral comprehensive bill. Rep. Gutierrez's plan made him the voice on Immigration Reform in the House, without sacrificing his commitment to his community or to his ideals.

Because of his leadership on immigration issues, Rep. Gutierrez was appointed Chair of the Democratic Caucus Immigration Task Force, where he is the party's leading strategist and spokesperson on immigration issues; and as the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force. In addition, Rep. Gutierrez was named to the Judiciary Committee in the 110th Congress where he has remained, serving on the Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law Subcommittee.

Rep. Gutierrez was born in Chicago, and before going to Congress he was a City Council member. In 2009 Rep. Gutierrez toured the country organizing for Immigration Reform, and introduced a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill on December 15th, 2009. The next time this issue is on the front pages, he is the one to watch.

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