Small Group of House Republicans Continue Push For Immigration Reform
When most voters think of Republicans they usually don’t think of immigration reform. But a small yet determined group of the GOP are sure that the situation will soon be amended.
The GOP does not currently enjoy a positive image when it comes to immigration reform -- partly due to campaign bluster from many Republican Presidential primary candidates seeking to attract support from the party's conservative base, and also due to continued inaction on the issue by the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress.
In May, for instance, the House stripped away a minor pro-immigration provision from the National Defense Authorization Act that would have allowed the Pentagon to study the possibility of offering a pathway to legal status for illegal immigrants that enlist in the military, as reported by Politico.
But Republicans in favor of the measure maintained that the 221-202 vote on the amendment that removed the pro-immigration provision did not really display the scope of GOP support for the measure.
A Republican congressman who was involved in whipping votes against the amendment that eventually stripped the pro-immigration provision from the bill stated to Politico that “as many as 40” House Republicans were with him, but that some eventually voted the other way out of party loyalty or for fear that the single pro-immigration provision might eventually scuttle the whole defense bill.
Still, twenty Republicans voted not to strip the pro-immigration provision from the bill.
“The reality of the situation is that there are many more Republicans who are in favor of reforming our immigration system than the media reports,” said Rep. David Valadao of California, one of the Republican congressmen who voted against the ammendment stripping the pro-immigration provision.
“Unfortunately, as is common in Washington, the loudest, most radical voices within a party are often times the loudest, even if they don’t reflect the opinions of the whole.”
Rep. Jeff Denham of California, who likewise voted against the amendment, said, “I think there are a number of members who’ve never served in the military who have no idea about the amount of immigrants who have not only served honorably but many of which have given their lives for our country.”
A 2012 article in The Atlantic observes that there has been, for some time now, a significant amount of “latent support” for immigration reform within the GOP, especially as Republicans find themselves desperate to make a gesture of inclusion to the ever-growing population of voting Latinos.
However, obviously hardliners in the GOP remain, like Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who has suggested President Barack Obama could be impeached over the issue of immigration reform: “To grant amnesty is to pardon immigration lawbreakers and reward them with their objective, and I’m not going to give up the rule of law and reward people for breaking it.”
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