7 Republicans Who Should Sign on to Immigration Reform Now

Update: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said on Tuesday that she would back the Democrat-led immigration bill in the Senate, making her the second Republican to get onboard.

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) took the plunge over the weekend and put his backing behind an immigration reform bill that would offer citizenship to many undocumented immigrants.

He’s the first Republican in the House of Representatives to support this particular bill, which is a version of legislation the Senate passed in June. So far, it’s just him and 185 Democrats.

For Denham, it’s clear why he’s hopped on the immigration train. His California district is 40 percent Hispanic and he’s in the state with the country’s largest population of undocumented immigrants.

But he might not be the only Republican for long.

Here’s a look at the other Rs in the House with the highest percentage of Hispanic constituents, and where they stand on immigration:

1. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)

Credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Hispanic share of district: 76 percent

She supports the bill that passed in the Senate, including the provision to create a pathway to citizenship for the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. Update: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said on Tuesday that she would back the Democrat-led immigration bill in the Senate, making her the second Republican to get onboard.

2. David Valadao (R-Calif.)

Credit: Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images

Hispanic share of district: 72 percent

He supports legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants who serve in the military to gain citizenship, but he’s not backing the comprehensive bill yet.

“Congressman Valadao has a few concerns with the legislation that he first wants to have addressed before he moves forward,” spokesperson Anna Vetter told Fusion.

3. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.)

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Hispanic share of district: 70 percent

Diaz-Balart is working on a bill that would help undocumented immigrants “get right with the law.” He was supposed to meet with President Obama on Tuesday to talk immigration, but the meeting was called off because of a “scheduling conflict,” The Hill reported.

4. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.)

Credit: Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images

Hispanic share of district: 52 percent

He supports work permits for the undocumented if the border can be secured. But when it comes to citizenship, he says undocumented immigrants will have to leave the U.S. and “get in line like everyone else.”

5. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas)

Credit: Bill Clarl/Roll Call/Getty Images

Hispanic share of district: 51 percent

Farenthold has said that the immigration reform bill passed in the Senate — which creates a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants — “doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell in the House of Representatives.” He hasn’t closed the door on a bill with citizenship, but he’s said it would be “tough.”

6. Gary Miller (R-Calif.)

Credit: Wikimedia

Hispanic share of district: 49 percent

Miller was a strong voice against illegal immigration until redistricting gave him a constituency that’s half-Hispanic. He’s been quiet on the issue lately (wonder why), except for comparing being undocumented to moving from Arkansas to California.

7. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)

Credit: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Hispanic share of district: 46 percent

He has supported a comprehensive approach to immigration in the past, calling for a bill that includes border security, revamping the visa system and addressing the 11.7 million people who are here without papers.

“You have to deal with children brought here under no fault of their own,” he told Politico in November 2012. “You have to deal with people here who are here just to find work.”

Update, 1:05 p.m.: I noted that Rep. Diaz-Balart’s meeting with the president was canceled. In an earlier update, I added Rep. Ros-Lehtinen support for an immigration bill.


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