Second House Republican signs on to Democratic immigration plan

October 29, 2013

Another House Republican has signed on to a Democratic-backed immigration reform plan.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) signed on as a co-sponsor to the proposal Tuesday morning. Her support comes after Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) signed on as a co-sponsor over the weekend.

"I know that some in the press have said immigration reform is dead, and I wanted to show a proof of life," Ros-Lehtinen told reporters Tuesday. "We're just trying to fix a broken system, and it's important to keep the discussions going."

Both GOP lawmakers represent districts with sizable Latino voting populations, especially Ros-Lehtinen who represents a part of the Miami area.

Denham told reporters that he received a good reception when he discussed the bill with colleagues at the weekly House Republican conference meeting Tuesday morning. He said the hope is to encourage more GOP members sign on in order to present party leaders with proof that that issue merits further consideration.

"I'm hopeful that more members will sign in by the end of the week," he said. "But this is one of those situations where people are just starting to look at the bill, so we've got some work ahead of us."

The Democratic measure mirrors a comprehensive Senate immigration bill passed over the summer, and includes a bipartisan border security bill passed unanimously by the House Homeland Security committee in May.

House Republican leaders continue to say they will not take up immigration reform before resolving the host of fiscal and budgetary concerns facing Congress. But Ros-Lehtinen's support likely will embolden the White House and immigration advocates still pushing for consideration of the issue.

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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