An Illinois congressman is trying to establish the political rhetoric in support of presidential action on immigration. In a speech on the House floor Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Chicago) likened the expected action by President Obama to the action of President Harry Truman, ordering desegregation of the Armed Forces in 1948.
“I’m fairly confident that Democrats from North Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia and Louisiana asked Harry Truman not to do a thing – but he did it anyway. And I would venture to guess that there aren’t too many members of Congress today who wish that Truman did not desegregate the military, or had waited, however long it took, for Congress to evolve on the issue of segregation,” he said.
North Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia and Louisiana were states where Obama hoped to bolster the chances of Democrats running for the Senate by delaying action, but Democrats lost all those races anyway.
Gutierrez noted that a bill the president helped negotiate passed the Senate with bipartisan support in June of last year, since which time the president has waited to see if the House would act on the bill, but it did not.