Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., a longtime advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and critic of the Trump administration, is retiring from Congress, Fox News confirms.
Gutierrez held an event in Chicago on Monday alongside Mayor Rahm Emanuel and is slated to hold a news conference in Chicago on Tuesday morning.
The 63-year-old congressman has served his Chicago district since 1993 and is a senior member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. A Puerto Rican, he has been a lead proponent in recent weeks of providing federal aid to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico. He also has been arrested this year outside Trump Tower in New York protesting the president’s strict immigration enforcement policy.
But Gutierrez also was among the harshest critics of former President Barack Obama, whom he called the “deporter in chief” for ordering immigration agencies to deport hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants. He strongly disagreed with Obama’s – and his then-chief of staff Emanuel’s decision – to use the early years of his presidency to push for health-care reform instead of an immigration overhaul.
Before the Thanksgiving recess, Gutierrez told The Washington Post that he was planning to file the roughly 800 signatures he needed to collect in order to run for reelection.
“I’m filing my papers, and I’m doing it again,” he said at the time.
But he has privately hinted to colleagues for the past several years that he wanted to retire. Earlier this year, he signaled that he felt comfortable doing so now that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has more than 30 members, including several younger, more ambitious colleagues in safe districts who are likely to be in Congress for several years to come.
The Associated Press contributed to this report