U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., drew a crowd of hundreds of Minnesota Latinos on Sunday afternoon at an appearance in a south Minneapolis church.
Gutierrez was hosted by U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., who called Gutierrez one of the faces of the immigration reform movement. Ellison said he hoped the appearance by Gutierrez would inspire the local Latino community.
Ellison added that Gutierrez is "a regular person, but he's also taken on a symbolic status and a face of a movement. So by bringing him here, it helps me galvanize my constituents and helps enliven them, excite them, inspire them, because again this thing's not going to be wrapped up overnight. So we need people to be inspired for the long haul."
People at the event spoke to Gutierrez mainly about ending deportations so they wouldn't lose a family member.
Gutierrez said he thought that should be a priority over establishing a path to citizenship. He said people need to have faith that change is possible.
"People have to organize in Minnesota," Gutierrez said. "Keith and I are going to vote for comprehensive immigration reform. But today I think a lot of people heard the message -- a lot of people get discouraged. And today gives them hope. You have to inform them."
Gutierrez said he believes Republicans will vote for bipartisan immigration legislation.
The event was at Incarnation Catholic Church, 3817 Pleasant Ave. in Minneapolis.