(Newsmax) – Eager to jump on President Barack Obama’s executive order on amnesty, U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez stepped up Wednesday to encourage undocumented aliens to prepare the needed paperwork that would give them temporary legal status, The Hill reported.
Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat who has championed immigration reform, spoke in both English and Spanish to call on “millions” to be prepared for their chance to become legal, The Hill said.
“When that door opens, we should have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, with their documents, ready to submit them,” he encouraged. “While Republicans are complaining and bellyaching, we’re going to act.”
He also used his appearance speaking to immigration activists gathered at a news conference on Capitol Hill to admonish Republicans that if they didn’t like the president’s plan, they should come up with another idea of their own, noting what he described as their ongoing hostilities to Obama’s agenda. He said despite Republican assurances that they were working on their own plan, Democrats were sick of waiting, The Hill reported.
“If you do not like what the president of the United States has done, then it is your responsibility to offer us an alternative other than to demonize and criminalize our immigrant community,” Gutiérrez said before defending the president and accusing Republicans of using immigration to win power in Congress, according to The Hill.
“What unites Republicans is being against anything Barack Obama proposes,” Gutiérrez said.
Republicans have shot back that Obama’s executive actions are illegal and have already begun challenging him with a lawsuit filed by House Republicans against his landmark healthcare plan, The Washington Post noted of the pushback.
The timing of the lawsuit’s announcement, minutes after Obama stepped up to announce his executive order, was a direct shot at the White House and his policies, which have some have dubbed the “imperial presidency,” the Post said.
While Republicans have said they don’t plan to use the amnesty battle to shut down government, they have nonetheless prepared to fight it, The Washington Times noted, outlining a likely scenario that would carry the issue into 2015.
“Their plan would include passing an omnibus spending bill to fund most of the government’s regular operations through the end of the fiscal year, but pulling out funding for Homeland Security, and passing a short-term stopgap bill to keep those programs running through early next year. That would give the GOP a chance to return to the issue once their party takes control of the Senate in January,” the Times wrote.