From NBC's Luke Russert and Mark Murray
As we saw during the final stages of the health-care debate, Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D) isn't shy about taking his complaints public (he said he was going to vote against the health bill before eventually voting for it).
And now he's taking aim at President Obama's immigration policies, suggesting that Latino voters might not participate in the upcoming midterm elections -- if the administration and Democratic congressional leaders don't move forward on a comprehensive immigration bill.
In a press conference today blasting a new anti-immigration law in Arizona, Gutierrez said, "It seems to me that is an option for people to stay home [in November]. The choices have always been framed the following way -- the Republicans are so mean-spirited and so anti-immigrant that they simply push immigrants and Latinos into the waiting arms of Democrats."
"There is a third option for those voters," he added. "They don't necessarily have to fill the ranks of the Democratic Party. They can simply stay home, and that to me is an option that is there. It is not an option that I have called for. But let me be clear: It's not an option I have ruled out... Will I rule it out in the future? Absolutely not!"
Later, when speaking Spanish to Spanish-language reporters, Gutierrez was even harsher toward the Obama administration. "Where is the Justice Department? Here is an injustice against the basic rights. Where is the administration of Barack Obama and his Justice department?"
"And this week -- where is he? On Wall Street in New York talking with bankers. Look, it's time to work on immigration reform!"