Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke on the House floor about Puerto Rico, today responding to Tweets this morning from the President suggesting it was time for FEMA and the U.S. military to pull out of Puerto Rico’s recovery effort. Rep. Gutiérrez responded to the President with a question and an answer:
How long do we have to stay, Mr. President? Until every Puerto Rican name is taken off of the Vietnam Memorial or erased from the records of Korea, Afghanistan or Iraq. We stay as long as it takes.
Now three weeks into the Puerto Rico crisis, Rep. Gutiérrez compared the effort in Puerto Rico to our rescue mission to evacuate U.S. citizens from St. Maarten after Hurricane Irma and even to the progress we made in the first three weeks after D-Day in 1944.
Thirty six hours to get evacuated from St. Maarten. Three weeks in Puerto Rico and still no plan for evacuation….
Three weeks after D-Day in 1944, the Allies liberated the deep water port of Cherbourg, one of the most important objectives in France. It took 20 days and we built bridges and communication lines along the way. We made better progress in the three weeks after D-Day than we are making on Puerto Rico, and in Puerto Rico, to the best of my knowledge, there are no Germans shooting at us.
Rep. Gutiérrez also chided his colleagues who are visiting Puerto Rico on Congressional Delegations this weekend:
This weekend, Members of Congress are going to Puerto Rico and I spoke with a few of them and I was saying, hey, at night you should go to this place where it is really bad… And he cut me off and said, oh, we’re not staying overnight. So an island where 85% of the power is out and our Members of Congress are only going to see things during the day? Not during the pitch black darkness, which is what Puerto Ricans are living with every single night for three weeks.
Congressman Gutiérrez concluded by saying:
Regardless of what my colleagues see during the day or what the President tweets in the morning, my friends who stand in line for hours for food if they can find it, my constituents worried about their family members, and 5 million Puerto Ricans in the Diaspora have run out of patience and we want our people to be free.
Mr. Speaker, my constituents want the government’s help to get their families out.
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He was born in Chicago to parents who migrated from Puerto Rico to the mainland and has lived in Puerto Rico at various points in his life. He is traveling to Puerto Rico again next week and plans to stay overnight.
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