Republican Congressman Defies House Leaders on Immigration
Jeff Dehman a Republican member of the House of Representatives from California has defied Republican leaders in the House as he moved toward forcing a decision during an election year on his legislation for immigration.
Denham filed his legislation, which is known as the ENLIST Act, as a small amendment on the sweeping defense policy legislation. The House is expected to consider the defense measure later this week.
The amendment or ENLIST Act would provide a pathway to citizenship for those immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children by their parents or that serve in the U.S. military.
The measure provides a way for those who want to perform patriotism’s ultimate act, serving their nation, to earn their legal status in the U.S., said Denham in a Monday statement.
He said as a U.S. veteran he cannot think of any better way to show commitment to your new nation.
Denham’s moves is three days after GOP leaders in the House took steps in order to block the vote on immigration reform, which dealt a hug blow to overhaul the system that is disparaged as being dysfunctional.
The House Rules Committee is set to decide Tuesday what amendments the chamber will consider and then vote on as part of the work it is doing on the National Defense Authorization Act.
The Rules panel that is GOP-led rarely breaks from leadership. The Senate last year passed a sweeping bill that would increase border security, retool the program for legal workers and offer citizenship to over 11.5 million undocumented immigrants now living in the U.S.
That measure remains sitting in the House, led by Republicans, where John Boehner, the Speaker has put blame on the distrust by the GOP of President Obama to enforce any immigration law, for their inaction.
Despite a broad coalition of labor, business, farmers, religious groups along with others pushing for an overhaul of immigration, many individual Republican members of the House who represent largely white areas have not been moved.
That is often true during a year when elections take place, such as 2014, amidst concerns over angering core voters for the GOP.
Denham’s legislation was very popular and seen as possibly the likeliest area for a compromise on the hugely divisive immigration issue.