Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., argued Thursday that two key Republican senators would never have made it to the Senate under a new Republican immigration bill, because it would make it harder for non-English speaking immigrants to emigrate to the U.S.
"I look at the bill and I think to myself, Sen. Rubio wouldn't be a senator, and ... Sen. Cruz wouldn't be a senator because their dads, their moms wouldn't have been allowed into this country if you would have used these standards," Gutierrez said on MSNBC.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., are both Cuban-Americans whose parents fled Cuba.
Cruz's website said his father fled to Texas after being imprisoned and tortured in Cuba, and came to America "penniless and not speaking a word of English."
Rubio's parents came to the U.S. from Cuba and worked "humble jobs — my father as a bartender in hotels and my mom as a maid, cashier and stock clerk," according to Rubio's Senate website.
The bill introduced Wednesday would not ban non-English speakers from getting green cards. However, it would prioritize applicants using a point-based system that favors people who speak English, or who have advanced skills or education.
Gutierrez said Democrats recognize the need for skilled workers, but said the GOP bill goes too far and could make it harder for farmers who rely on low-skilled labor to harvest crops in the U.S.