Today, Democrat Congressman Luis Gutierrez changed his "no vote" to a "yes vote" on the current health care bill promoted by Pelosi and Reid. Luis Gutierrez is a Hispanic Congressman from Illinois who opposed the the Democrat bill because it contained harsh language that barred illegal immigrants from purchasing health care insurance with their own money in the government exchange.
Earlier, more than a dozen members of the Hispanic Caucus threatened to vote "no" on the health care bill if language was put in the bill that addressed illegal immigrants. Luis Gutierrez changed his mind after having a series of conversations with the president, who renewed his commitment to immigration reform, but apparently didn't want to take up the fight just yet.
In other words, Gutierrez was swindled.
In an editorial to the Huffington Post, Rep. Gutierrez used stern language criticizing the president for dedicating just 1 of 71 minutes in his State of the Union Address to immigration reform. Gutierrez also intimated that enough was enough in his statement below:
"But the truth is that our community and its leaders have now spent years waiting patiently at the back of the line of national priorities. We've asked nicely, we've advocated politely. We've turned the other cheek so many times that our heads are spinning.
Waiting, and hoping, doesn't make our borders safe. It doesn't keep families together. It doesn't strengthen our economy. It doesn't bring human beings out of the shadows so they can work harder and pay more taxes.
Only action now by President Obama and this Congress will bring fairness and justice to a system that is fundamentally unfair and unjust."
Well Luis, you will have to keep waiting at the back of the line, keep advocating politely, and keep turning the other cheek because your president doesn't care about immigration reform. And you sir don't have a backbone to stand up for those who depend upon you most. Your hold out appears to be a gimmick to get more attention and make your constituents believe that immigration reform was an urgent issue to you.
Interestingly, the largest Latino advocacy group in the nation, the National Council of La Raza refuses to endorse the health care bill because it takes advantage of the community's most vulnerable people. Jennifer Ngandu, Deputy Director for La Raza said,
"The argument that everyone should support healthcare reform because it's for the 'greater good' has given national leaders an excuse to brush off the concerns of the most disenfranchised and vulnerable communities that desperately need results"
And this is exactly what Luis Gutierrez (Ill), Charles Gonzales (Tex), Nydia Velasquez (N.Y), Xavier Becerra (Cal), Joe Baca (Cal), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (Cal) just did - they brushed off illegal immigrants who need, at the very least, an opportunity to buy their own health care insurance. I may not agree with the La Raza on political ideology, but I will side with them on this issue.
Before Gutierrez changed his vote, he said this about Barack Obama,
"Senator Obama and I had been on the same side of many fights, and we had worked together on the issue that is most urgent to me -- comprehensive immigration reform"
It appears, however, that immigration reform is not Rep. Gutierrez' most urgent issue. It appears that Gutierrez is an average run-of-the-mill politician that says one thing, but does another. That's too bad. Republican Lindsey Graham's office released this statement about the passage of the Democrat health care bill,
"The first casualty of the Democratic health care bill will be immigration reform. If the health care bill goes through this weekend, that will, in my view, pretty much kill any chance of immigration reform passing the Senate this year."
Even as a conservative Hispanic, I believe that illegal immigrants should at least have the option to purchase their own health care insurance if the government will not pick up the tab, This is what we call being humane to individuals who are here and aren't leaving any time soon. By not allowing them to purchase health care insurance, we are ensuring that the next generation of Hispanics may fall victim to some serious health issues.