In an interview released Friday by The Washington Post, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) suggested that there are “more than enough” GOP votes to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Gutierrez says that the “40 to 50” House Republicans who have expressed support for the new bill have done so quietly.
“They say, ‘Love to do the activity with you, I want to be able to vote for it, I really don’t need to draw attention to myself at this point,’ but we can count on it [their votes],” he explained.
The interview comes a few days after Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL.) and Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) expressed support for the measures – most notably a pathway to full citizenship — introduced by the proposed immigration reform.
“We’re a nation of immigrants, there’s no question about that. But we’re also a nation of laws. I think we have to honor both of those.” Webster said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel.
Webster and Schock are part of a 20-member group comprised of Republicans in the House who have confirmed their support for immigration reform – a group that includes bipartisan “Gang of 7” members Rep. Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL), Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), and Rep. John Carter (R-TX).
Other House Republicans in favor of immigration reform include Spencer Bachus (AL) who stated that without a pathway to citizenship, we would create “an underclass,” Darrell Issa, and Jeff Denham (CA), who said he believes the “Senate’s done a good job.”
Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) – who also supports immigration reform – said that winning Republican House members over to reform is possible: “Once you talk to them and explain that it’s a process, where [undocumented immigrants] can work for [citizenship], appreciate it and someday become citizens – just like my parents did – most members begin to understand.”
Gutierrez says that there are at least 195 confirmed House Democrats who support immigration reform, meaning the 22 confirmed GOP House members only need one more Republican vote to pass it.
Even so, a bill has not reached the House floor.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has enforced the Hastert Rule, a practice that involves only bringing a bill to a vote if there is majority support from the majority party’s members.
According to the Washington Post, House Republicans have now shifted their efforts to a more “piecemeal approach to immigration reform,” focusing more on bills related to border security.
On Thursday, Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) spoke out against Boehner and his fellow House Republicans who refuse to express support for immigration reform, and said that he is “frustrated” with the leadership.
Asked why the process is so dragged out, Denham confirmed what many observers have been thinking: “It probably has a lot more to do with politics than policy.”
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