WASHINGTON, May 20 (UPI) -- Democratic Rep. Luis Gutiérrez warned Republicans that they'd never see another member of their party occupy the White House unless they help pass immigration reform.
"Latino voters are a force that is growing faster than Republicans can withstand and are tilting more towards the Democrats with each day Republicans stand in the way of stopping deportations that are breaking up immigrant families," the Illinois congressman said on the House floor Tuesday.
Gutiérrez accused the House majority leadership of bending to the will of a vocal minority in their party rather than advancing legislation a majority of voters support.
"Latino voters are repelled, and the loud but small contingent of immigration opponents have backed the Republican Party into a corner that they don't have the courage to break out of," he said
"So, Mr. Speaker, I give you George W. Bush, the man who will go down in history as the last Republican president in American history. Tom Donohue is right: There is a demographic reality that will make Republicans a footnote in history -- just like the Whigs and Know-Nothings -- unless they do something to get the immigration issue off the table."
Gutiérrez was referring to comments from Donahue, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce president, last week, when he said Republicans wouldn't stand a chance in 2016 unless immigration reform passes Congress this year.
"If the Republicans don't do it, they shouldn't bother to run a candidate in 2016," Donohue said. "Think about that. Think about who the voters are. I just did that to get everybody's attention."
The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill last June, voting 68-32 on a bill that would create a path to citizenship while increasing border security.
As for the House, Gutiérrez said action on legislation must go before the July 4 holiday if it were to stand any chance of passing this year, when campaigns and midterm skittishness would make passage of any meaningful legislation unlikely.