U.S. Rep. Gutierrez brings message to area Hispanics: ‘Good people’ will help them

Diana Salazar-Guzman, president of the Latino Association of Charleston, greets U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez.

A national Hispanic advocate brought his message Friday night to a packed house in North Charleston.

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., spoke to more than 500 people at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church.

He said he is traveling the country to “let people know there are good people around them to help them get right with the law.”

Gutierrez was referring to the controversial executive order by President Barack Obama that would shield millions of immigrants from deportation and allow them to apply for work permits.

When asked about the order, the Chicago-area congressman said he felt “jubilation about kids with no fear about losing mom and dad.”

A coalition of 26 states, including South Carolina, is suing to try to stop the executive action, which begins taking effect Feb. 18. The coalition argues that Obama has violated the “Take Care Clause” of the U.S. Constitution, which they say limits the scope of presidential power.

The Charleston-area event was sponsored by the Latino Association of Charleston. Diana Salazar, president of the group, said Gutierrez was influential in the president’s decision to issue the order in November.

“We recognize that this is the greatest victory for Latinos in the history of this country,” she said.

Gutierrez also visited Charleston in 2011 and spoke to hundreds of residents about immigration reform.

The Post and Courier’s Paul Zoeller and The Associated Press contributed to this report.