Three House Republicans have now signed the House Democratic comprehensive immigration reform bill, which is good—and surprising—news for people who hope to see immigration reform legislation pass this year. The bill’s most recent supporter is Representative David Valadao of California, whose district boasts a sizeable Latino population. Valadao’s actions follow those of his fellow GOP representatives Leana Ros-Lehtinen and Jeff Denham, both of whom signed the bill and expressed a belief that more House Republicans would follow.
Valadao’s statement regarding his support seems to indicate that he has (quietly) been a proponent of immigration reform for some time, and is now stepping up his level of support: “I have been working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find common ground on the issue of immigration reform. Recently, I have focused my efforts on joining with likeminded Republicans in organizing and demonstrating to Republican Leadership broad support within the Party to address immigration reform in the House by the end of the year. By supporting H.R. 15 I am strengthening my message: Addressing immigration reform in the House cannot wait. I am serious about making real progress and will remain committed to doing whatever it takes to repair our broken immigration system.”
That Valadao’s district has a large Latino population may be good or bad news for the bill, depending. It shows that the Latino voting bloc has power even among Republicans to affect
legislation, which is encouraging to proponents of a pathway to citizenship. However, very few House Republicans hail from districts with large Latino populations, which means that for bipartisan immigration legislation efforts to succeed, GOP representatives would need to start supporting the bill (or another) for different reasons—reasons besides that they may face tough re-election races if they fail to support immigration reform in a Latino-friendly enough way. And those different reasons may not prove powerful enough to swing House Republicans toward a pathway to citizenship—a measure without which, say Democrats, they will not pass comprehensive immigration legislation.
Valadao’s support comes after a push from the Evangelical Immigration Table, a group that sent a delegation to Washinton, D.C. earlier this week to exert pressure on lawmakers to act on immigration. Matthew Blanton, who traveled to Washington, D.C. this week with the Evangelical Immigration Table, told The State that conservatives support immigration reform. “With the financial crisis behind us, it is clear America wants Congress to work together towards pragmatic, commonsense solutions. Immigration reform fits that bill,” he said. “And considering the broad support across conservative circles, we want House leadership to move forward this year on legislation that will gain bipartisan support.”
Source: The Washington Post, “Immigration reform is definitely undead,” Greg Sargent,
October 30, 2013
Source: Huffington Post, “Conservatives Pushing Immigration Reform Say Piecemeal Approach Gains Steam,” Elise Foley,
October 29, 2013
Source: The State, “Upstate pastors in D.C. to push for immigration reform,” Ron Barnett,
October 28, 2013