Little Rock, AR
The 184 cosponsors of HR 15 were exclusively Democrats prior to Denham’s announcement, although the bill’s sponsors emphasized the bipartisan polices included in the measure when they introduced it. Joe Garcia D-FL, one of the authors of HR 15 told in an interview that Denham showed courage in his decision. Denham’s inclusion further add to the bipartisan nature of the bill, his Enlist Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who serve in the military, now will be added to HR 15. And it adds to the mounting pressure on House Republican leadership to bring immigration reform legislation to the floor for a vote.
In a statement on Friday, Republican Joe Heck NV, another Republican, blasted House leaders for failing to act on measures to improve the nation’s immigration policies this year, saying it was another example of a leadership vacuum. “There is a clear, bipartisan consensus among House members that immigration reform is the right thing to do both for people in this country and for our economy,” Heck said in the statement. He added that House committees have passed a handful of bills that could be brought to the floor next week, “but the House Republican leadership may punt the issue until 2014 for political reasons. That’s very disappointing.”
Despite any pessimism about the likelihood of the House voting on immigration reform, Republican Trent Franks AZ, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said he has been meeting with House Speaker John Boehner about a plan to bring up immigration legislation. “We have meetings one to two times per week and I can tell you that there is a plan to bring immigration to the floor,” Franks told a group of immigration advocates, in Arizona. He did not offer a time frame for when a vote might happen.
Speaker Boehner has said he would bring a series of smaller immigration bills to the floor instead of a sweeping, comprehensive measure and that he only would call for a vote on a measure that had the support from a majority of Republicans.
As lawmakers push for a vote on immigration reform, hundreds of conservatives including pastors, farmers, police chiefs, and business owners are arriving in Washington, D.C., to meet with Republican members of Congress to speak about the need for immigration reform.
“I’m not an advocate of blanket amnesty. I just see undocumented immigrants who are hurting and want to contribute to their family and the system is not working for them,” Jeremy Hudson, a pastor who’s Fellowship Christian Church operates in Boehner’s district, told USA Today
Actions and statements like those by Republican Denham and Republican Heck are promising developments that reflect the necessity of bipartisan action on immigration reform without regard to scoring political points. As Denham said, he may get attacked for his decision, “but what is right for the American people and our economy should be the focus on