immigration reform
To finish the line on immigration reform, Luis Gutierrez made the switch from serving on the House Financial Services Committee to the Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In an effort to finish the line on immigration reform, Rep. Luis Gutierrez made the switch from serving on the House Financial Services Committee to the Judiciary Committee and his colleagues accepted it.

The Congressman is giving up 20 years of seniority on the Financial Services Committee, but he said in a statement released Friday afternoon that his passion is passing immigration reform.

“We have record levels of deportations and millions of families separated by borders and out-of-date laws. We can’t wait and wait and wait for immigration reform, and I am finding an enthusiasm for action that I have not seen on Capitol Hill for years,” Gutierrez said in a statement.

Congress is serious about fixing the immigration system

He indicated that Congress is poised for serious action to fix the broken immigration system. As it is a top priority for Democrats and numerous Republicans in the House and Senate who want to get it done, he said.

Gutierrez had previously served on the Judiciary Committee between 2007 to 2010 and he is considered to be the 13th ranking Democrat on the committee. The Congressman made the request for the switch and his House Democratic colleagues approved it.

For years, Gutierrez has been championing reforming the immigration system risking arrests and criticism from both sides of the aisle. Although the Congressman has also been acknowledged for his efforts. He co-sponsored bipartisan legislation in the past with Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA.), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ.) and now Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

With the announcement of Gutierrez switch, Frank Sharry of America’s Voice was quick to signal the “game is on” for immigration reform in the 113th Congress.

“He’s the immigration reform movement’s leader and champion, and we’re heartened to see Rep. Gutierrez put himself in a position to join fellow immigration champions like Rep. Zoe Lofgren on the House Judiciary Committee,” Sharry said in a statement. “On the heels of both President Obama’s and Vice President Biden’s pledges that immigration reform is a top Obama Administration priority, and alongside both parties’ political imperative to enact real reform, today’s news is yet another sign that immigration reform is up in 2013.”

Anti-immigration sentiment will not be tolerated

On his end, Gutierrez reiterated that the election once again proved anti-immigration sentiment will not be tolerated.

“One of the main obstacles to a serious conversation on immigration reform was the small group of people holding the issue hostage to the notion that 12 million people had to leave the country and no new legal immigrants could be added,” said Gutierrez. ” That argument is dead and the funeral was on Election Night when Gov. Romney and his hard line approach fell in stunning defeat and the overwhelming majority of Latino voters rejected the Republican approach.”

“Now we need all hands on deck to make sure that legislation moves and that it makes our immigration system work for the American people first and foremost and for both new immigrants and those who are already here.”

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