Could There Be A Critical Mass Of GOP Support For Immigration Reform?

By Al Macias
August 14, 2013

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) has told the Washington Post that he believes there are 40 to 50 Republican votes in the House in support of comprehensive immigration reform. The Illinois congressman says Republicans who support reform are keeping a low profile to avoid criticism from conservatives.

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) told a Washington radio station that Congress needs to build a solution people currently living in the United States without documentation.

It’s estimated there are 11 million undocumented residents already in the United States.

According to the pro-immigration group America’s Voice, Reichert is the 22nd Republican to publicly support citizenship.

Earlier this week Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) endorsed comprehensive reform during a a panel discussion in Las Vegas. He called the senate plan that includes a path to citizenship “reasonable.” Heck says discussions about immigration reform often focus on undocumented workers, but he says there are many more issues that need to be included and addressed.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, “Heck acknowledges there is no guarantee a House bill will emerge that takes on the thorny issue of citizenship.”

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a member of the house leadership says there are 200 Democratic votes for reform. Other estimates say there could be slightly fewer votes.

Supporters of immigration reform like Gutierrez and Van Hollen think there are enough, but unless House Speaker John Boehner brings the issue to the floor there won’t be a vote.

The Washington Post reports House Democratic leaders are trying to determine if they should try to bypass the Speaker with what is called a “discharge petition.” If the petition is signed by a majority of the house members the immigration bill would be brought to the floor.

The Post says the decision to proceed will be up to minority leader, Nancy Pelosi.

Meanwhile when House members return to work in September they will continue moving forward with a piecemeal approach to immigration reform.