CA Congressmen Push for Immigration Reform

Bucking their newly minted party leadership, several members of California’s congressional delegation have resolved to push ahead with a new bill that would reform immigration law by loosening it up.

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Reps. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, and David Valadao, R-Hanford, expressed confidence that they can secure a vote on the so-called ENLIST Act, which has been stalled in committee for months. The Act, as the Los Angeles Times reported, “would allow people brought to the United States illegally as children before 2011 to become lawful alien residents if they complete a term of military service.”

Although Denham and Valadao, the Times added, rank “among the most outspoken members of their party pushing for comprehensive immigration overhaul,” their focus on ENLIST reflected a broader unwillingness among House Republicans to tackle the issue this election season — whether in pieces or as a whole.

Running out the clock

The hands-off position was freshly cemented by newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan. To help secure the backing of the House Freedom Caucus, which has depicted comprehensive immigration reform as a concoction of big business and big government, “Ryan pledged he would not move an immigration reform overhaul to the floor unless it was backed by a majority of House Republicans,” as The Hill recalled.

Ryan, The Hill noted, “was loosely involved with talks about immigration reform in the House in 2013. At the time, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers was working to put together a comprehensive immigration overhaul. Ryan wasn’t part of the core group, but did have conversations with its members.” Leading Republicans have sometimes been burned by their support for that effort. Sen. Marco Rubio, for instance, has had to pivot away in order to shore up his right flank and seize an advantage against main primary season rival Gov. Jeb Bush.

Balance and blame

Paul RyanRyan, for his part, did not disavow outright his preference for a so-called “pathway” to citizenship for many unlawful and undocumented immigrants. But in recent remarks on the CBS program Meet the Press, he tried to indicate that he actually preferred a path to “legal status” instead of outright citizenship, as the Associated Press noted:

“Legal status versus citizenship is an important distinction, partly because only citizenship confers the right to vote. His office said Ryan supports ‘earned legal status,’ noting that this could eventually lead to citizenship through existing channels.”

At the same time, Ryan blamed president Obama for his reluctance to proceed with immigration legislation. “Look, I think it would be a ridiculous notion to try and work on an issue like this with a president we simply cannot trust on this issue,” he said. “He tried to go it alone, circumventing the legislative process with his executive orders, so that is not in the cards.”

The response from the White House was swift. Press Secretary Josh Earnest “accused new House Speaker Paul Ryan of ‘pandering to the extreme right wing’ of his party on immigration,” the Associated Press reported, labeling his comments “preposterous.”

Bicoastal politics

Although the testy rhetoric suggested little room for lawmakers to maneuver, California Republicans like Denham and Valadao have taken advantage of unusual personal circumstances to pursue their agenda. Hispanics make up a significant percentage of voters in both representatives’ districts, as the Hill observed, while both currently lean Republican, the Cook Political Report determined.

In other words, although their districts remained competitive heading into 2016, both lawmakers boasted enough support at home to seek to expand their vote by sticking their neck out politically in Washington. Of late, California has racked up numerous and generous programs for unlawful immigrants. Measures passed this year, the AP noted, “to help immigrants in the U.S. illegally by improving their access to health care, opposing discrimination and enabling more people to apply for legal status. One measure aims to help immigrant crime victims apply for federal government visas.”

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  1. Jim Ricketts says

    With David Valadeo’s 27% rating from the Heritage Foundation and Jeff Denham’s 33% rating from the same organization, the idea that these two are Republicans is laughable at best – and contemptibly naive at worst. As these two ramp up their immigrant panderfest, one can only hope that if there are any real Republicans in either of their Districts, there will be some pushback in next June’s Primary.

  2. By the design of the current administration, America now has the smallest armed forces since before WWII. Serving in our armed forces is an honor, and it is also a career path sought by many American youth. I’ll be damned if I want to see American youth competing with illegal aliens for a position in our military. The day is long gone when it was easy to enlist by simply getting a passsing score on the Armed Foreces entrance examination, and passing a basic physical exam. Today’s applicants are thoroughly screened, and you have to get more than just a minimum passing score.

    I say let the illegals go back to their native country, where they will be treasured for their American education, and they can join their own military force.

  3. Two new recruits for Princess Nancy.

    • Complete hard left RINO bull crap! If this ever becomes law, it will be manipulated and never enforced! Such as the motor voter registration one signed by gov moonbat! That is a democreep guarantee of dictatorial control of the state by liberals thru voter fraud on a MASSIVE scale. This is only done by ruthless power hungry libturd demo-creeps!

  4. Dash Riprock says

    Yea more laws on the immigration books that won’t be enforced. Reform is for candy a$$ed democracks, enforce laws on the books currently and deport those here illegally. Stop looking for reasons not to enforce immigration laws and do your jobs derelicts. AMERICA IS FULL!

  5. Stand strong everyone, we will win in the end!

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