Gutiérrez's comments came after Speaker John A. Boehner's announcement Tuesday of a GOP task force to address the crisis of illegal immigrant children surging across the southern border. "I gave you the warning three months ago, and now I have no other choice; you're done," Gutiérrez said, addressing House Republicans. "Your chance to play a role in how immigration and deportation policies are carried out this year is over."
A vocal critic of inaction on immigration by President Barack Obama, Gutiérrez noted the efforts of Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., to advance immigration overhaul measures during his five minute speech Wednesday, but said Obama now had the authority to act to fix existing immigration laws.
"Others in the Republican conference are fighting for reform out of a sense of compassion and doing the right thing, as my friend Diaz-Balart from Florida has," Gutiérrez said. "Having been given ample time and space to craft legislation, [Republicans] failed. The president now has no other choice but to act within existing law to ensure that our deportation policies are humane, that due process rights are protected, that detention conditions are as they should be and most importantly that the people who we are deporting are detriments to our communities not assets to our families, economy and society."