Washington (CNN) - All is not trouble and strife on Capitol Hill – at least according to Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro, of Texas, and Republican Rep. Jeff Denham, of California, who are co-sponsoring a new immigration bill.
Denham is so far the lone Republican to join 185 Democrats to support an immigration reform bill that could give millions of undocumented people a path to citizenship.
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The “The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act,” or bill H.R. 15, is based on the bipartisan bill that was passed in the Senate in June, which was previously deemed an unviable option by House Republicans. The new House bill includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and includes Denham’s ENLIST Act, which would allow for qualified undocumented immigrants to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.
“We can’t afford any more delays,” said Denham, who represents a district that is 40% Latino. “We are a nation of immigrants, but today, our broken system has failed to secure the border, enforce our current laws and help us to attract the best and brightest who want to come and contribute to the greatness of America.”
“I support an earned path to citizenship to allow those who want to become citizens to demonstrate a commitment to our country, learn English, pay fines and back taxes and pass background checks.”
This comes after President Barack Obama last week renewed his call for immigration reform, a campaign promise that appears more distant with every drama that unfolds on Capitol Hill.
With November looming, and only 19 legislative days left till the end of the congressional year, Democrats hope to push a compromise bill by scoring some moderate Republican supporters.
"Immigration reform is an issue that transcends party, region, and industry - it affects the totality of the American family. I am glad Rep. Denham is supporting a solution the majority of Americans agree is necessary," Castro told CNN. "The question now is whether more Republicans will join the 185 Democrats who have signed this bill."
Denham said he expects other Republicans to jump on board, but with November looming and a budget battle ahead, it is unclear whether House Speaker John Boehner will call a vote on the bill. If he does, it is unlikely to pass.
And other House Republicans are openly hostile to the bill. "I will oppose any immigration reform until a clear plan for immigration security is funded and in place and I’m especially opposed to any ‘comprehensive’ approach, because I know, based on his past practices, that this President will only enforce the parts of the law that he favors,” said Rep. John Fleming, R-Louisiana, a member of the House Immigration Caucus. “Republicans have a severe trust issue with the President when it comes to any reform legislation, and I don't see this bill making it to the House floor.”