Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) announced in an interview that aired on Sunday that he will be the first Republican to support a comprehensive immigration reform bill written by House Democrats, which is essentially the Senate’s bill that provides a pathway to citizenship to all of the country’s illegal immigrants, with fewer border security measures.
He also said House Republican leaders have assured him that he would bring immigration legislation to the floor in the next month.
On Univision’s Al Punto, Denham spoke in Spanish to host Jorge Ramos and said, “Yes, I will be the first Republican coming together on this full bill dealing with all aspects of immigration.”
He said he was sure that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would bring immigration reform legislation to the floor in the “next month or so.”
“I’m confident he’s going to bring it to the floor,” Denham said. “We have a commitment from leadership that we are going to have full hearings as well as a floor debate coming up in the next month or so… So this solution needs to be part of that.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) introduced the bill for Democrats, and it will now have 185 supporters in the House–all 184 Democrats support the bill. Over 40 percent of residents in Denham’s district are Hispanic, and Democrats have been targeting Denham in 2014.
“I’m going to continue to encourage more and more Republicans to come on board,” Denham said. “We need to make sure that we have the entire country focused on this debate, so the more Republicans and Democrats we can come together on this, it’ll increase our chances of getting a full bill passed in the House.”
Republicans in the House are reportedly writing piecemeal legislation to eventually get to conference with the Senate, where a pathway to citizenship provision would prevail. The Congressional Budget Office has determined that the Senate bill would lower the wages for working class Americans.
When Pelosi introduced the bill that Denham now supports, Pelosi said she and other Democrats would do “whatever it takes” to get to conference with the Senate.