U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois praised several restaurants in the Las Vegas area for increasing the minimum wage for their employees to $15 per hour. But the increase is apparently not enough for the Democrat, who is of Puerto Rican heritage. In a meeting with workers in las Vegas, Gutiérrez said “We’re working to champion the cause of people – and I’m so excited you guys increased the minimum wage at Taco el Gordo, right?”
The Illinois Democrat, who has long been a proponent of progressive policy and a detractor of limits on immigration, continued. He said, “$15 an hour, I like that, that’s good. That’s good stuff, you know, so tomorrow I say –hey wait a minute, it should be $30 an hour – are you all going to vote for me?”
Urging his listeners to continue towards even greater demands, Gutiérrez said, “You say, ‘c’mon Gutierrez ain’t nobody’ – but that’s my point,” he said. “I mean you could take this to a point in which you go ‘really? – but we can’t do it.’ Should it be a goal? Oh, man, I am for that goal. I’m for a goal that everybody gets health care. I’m for a goal that everybody gets to go to college regardless of their income. And Latinos more than anyone else know that.”
Gutiérrez has endorsed Hillary Clinton’s bid to win the Democratic Party’s nomination this year, and has been a point man for registering Latinos to vote in the coming presidential election.
He began his political career as a member of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party when he was first elected as a Chicago alderman in the 1980s. And throughout his two and a half decades in the House of Representatives, Gutiérrez has been a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and has received considerable support along the way from the Democratic Socialists of America.
He recently expressed elation that the Supreme Court will soon consider Texas v. United States, which challenges President Obama’s “Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents” (DAPA). DAPA allows the executive branch to circumvent Congress and gave approximately 5 million illegal immigrants temporary legal status, work permits, eligibility for certain public benefits, and protection from deportation. The persons contemplated in the executive action are the parents of children born in the U.S. and thus received American citizenship automatically.
In a recent interview with a Chicago television station, Gutiérrez said that he was “proud” to have lobbied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, “which has provided nearly 700,000 deserving young people known as DREAMers a work permit and protection from deportation.” The so-called DREAMers are illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. as minors and had lived in the country and attended school and received other services.
The decision in the Supreme Court on Texas v. U.S. hangs in the balance ever since the sudden death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, who was considered a critic of Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Any nominees designated by the president must go before the Senate to “advise and consent”, according to the U.S. Constitution.