Republican Denham co-sponsors Democratic immigration bill
October 27th, 2013
06:50 PM ET
9 years ago

Republican Denham co-sponsors Democratic immigration bill

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.”

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Tigas

    If the ObamaCare train-wreck is any indication on how the Administration implements laws, the immigration bill will be a disaster!

    October 27, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Fire Denham, CA voters...........he is not representing the wishes of those who elected him.

    October 27, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    Rep Denham is only doing what is needed to save his congressional seat with a large number of Hispanic voters.

    October 27, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  4. Robert Gonzales

    I say that not all Hispanics In California are current or past laborers .Some like myself are not trained to manual labor or construction jobs. Yet I have some college but no degree. and I "m no actor or athlete. opportunities do no always jump at us . We hope to stay employed or rise in the work force . Are our votes to be looked over for illegal immigrants .

    October 27, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  5. S. B. Stein

    It is nice to see that there is some agreement among the members of the House. It needs to be increased on members of those in both the House and Senate.

    October 27, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |

    Rep. Denham needs to wake up! He needs to think again if he thinks people want more immigrants to be given everything free when our middle class is being buried by the government overspending and there aren't jobs for Americans! It shouldn't PASS!

    October 27, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  7. Kd

    Well i think they should send them all back cause they are taking are jobs away for legal americans. They dont belong here cause they are illegal. They dont care what they do here. They are all on welfare and they are not suppose to be. Or they can take the long path to become legal.

    October 27, 2013 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  8. 1Joyce

    I have to agree with Rep. John Fleming on this one. We've had five years of watching Obama ignoring laws he doesn't agree with and pushing through legislation that has not been thought out very carefully. He has proven himself to be a liar – will say anything to push his agenda. The last thing we need is another bill too long and too complicated for our representatives to, once again, not take the time to read and understand exactly what they're having this nation sign on for. I support a path to citizenship for those who did not ignore our laws and took the necessary legal steps to come to our country. I do not support a path to citizenship for anyone who think the laws were not written for them – who think they can walk into our country and start demanding "rights".

    October 28, 2013 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  9. Vence

    A sane republican finally!

    October 28, 2013 01:24 am at 1:24 am |

    Let the Guns Over People tea potty fun begin. Can't wait to see the GOBP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats 2012 Mitt the twit style.

    October 28, 2013 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  11. A True Conservative

    Allow me to help you out a bit – when you say "undocummented" what you really mean is "in this country illegaly". I know that this isn't PC language, but sometimes the truth hurts.

    October 28, 2013 07:15 am at 7:15 am |