Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez said Monday the U.S. has a responsibility to care for the women and children surging across southern border because American drug use has fueled the rise of violent cartels in Central America.
Gutiérrez, who has led efforts in the House to bring Republicans and his fellow Democrats together on an overhaul of the nation's immigration system, said those calling for deportation of the recent immigrants should be ashamed.
"Shame on people for simply ignoring the law to score cheap political points against children and minors arriving in the Unites States of America," the Illinois Democrat said in an appearance on MSNBC.
"I think we have a great responsibility in the debilitating of those countries," Gutiérrez said. "How do the drug cartels maintain their power? With American guns. Bought with American dollars because of American consumption of the drugs. The drugs don't stay in Honduras ... they come straight to the streets of the United States of America."
Gutiérrez's comments came as Republican congressmen, including Rep. Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho, are urging the White House to step up deportation proceedings against the flood of Central Americans who have strained resources along the Texas border.
Related: Diaz-Balart: 'Boehner's Never Told Me' Immigration Overhaul Is 'Dead' Goodlatte Warns Deportation Changes Hurt Immigration Overhaul Prospects Immigration Protests Focus on 22 Republicans Across Country Immigration Overhaul for 2014: Decidedly Not Dead Boehner Walks Back Immigration Comments Video Shows Boehner Mocking Colleagues on Immigration Where Do House Republicans Stand on Immigration Principles? (Updated Whip Count)