Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) Speaks at a press conference this month to show solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands of the United States after the crisis caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. (Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images)
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), A longtime advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and a shrill critic of the Trump administration, will announce on Tuesday that he will retire from Congress, according to multiple Democrats familiar with the decision.
Call the congresswoman were not answered on Monday night. His chief spokesman, Doug Rivlin, declined to comment.
Gutierrez held an event in Chicago on Monday with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and is scheduled to hold a press conference in Chicago on Tuesday morning.
The 63-year-old congressman has served in his Chicago district since 1993 and is a senior member of the Hispanic Caucus of Congress. Gutierrez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, has been a leading advocate in recent weeks to provide federal aid to Puerto Rico ravaged by the storm. He was also arrested this year outside Trump Tower in New York protesting the president's strict immigration policy.
But Gutiérrez was also among the harshest liberal critics of former President Barack Obama, whom he called the "chief deporter" for calling immigration agencies to deport hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants. He strongly disagreed with Obama's decision, and his then chief of staff Emanuel, to use the early years of his presidency to push for health care reform instead of immigration reform.
Before the Thanksgiving break, Gutierrez told the Washington Post that he planned to present the approximately 800 signatures he needed to sign up to run for re-election.
"I'm presenting my documents, and I'm doing it again," he said at the time.
But in private he has insinuated his colleagues during the last few years that I wanted to retire. Earlier this year, he said he was comfortable doing so now that the Hispanic Caucus in Congress has more than 30 members, including several younger and ambitious colleagues in safe districts that will likely be in Congress for several more years.
Gutiérrez's decision gives potential replacements just one week to collect signatures and participate in the ballot. Two possible candidates include Cook County Commissioner, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, and Chicago Councilman Carlos Ramirez Rosa.
Widely known in Chicago, Gutierrez is arguably the most prominent and best-known member of Congress for Spanish-speaking Hispanics who watch Univision and the national newscasts of Telemundo. Like Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) Or Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Frequent news programs in English, Gutiérrez is an eager guest to comment on all the day's issues in Spanish.
In a profile of the 2013 Washington Post congressman, Jorge Ramos, who presents the Univision nightly newscast, "Noticiero Univision," explained that "there are only a few family names for most Hispanic families, and Luis Gutiérrez is one of them. "  Ramos said Gutiérrez can attract the crowd "not only because he's always on fire, but because he's on the right side of the story, or on the side of Latinos and undocumented immigrants."
Gutierrez is not the only high-ranking Hispanic legislator who walks after next year. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Republican), the oldest Hispanic Republican in Congress, will also retire after next year.