Local Stories

GOP House trio cosponsors Democratic immigration bill

GOP House trio cosponsors Democratic immigration bill

By Juniper Rose
Hispanic Link: National Hispanic News

Hispanic Link

Three members of the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives — one the child of immigrant parents from Portugal, another with
Puerto Rican and Mexican in-laws and a third who called Cuba home until she was eight years old — have broken ranks with fellow
Republicans and joined 186 House Democrats to sign on as sponsors to a bill that would open the door for 11.7 undocumented residents now living here to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Some immigration reform advocates say they expect the actions to motivate more Republican representatives to follow suit, particularly those at risk of losing their seats because they will be viewed as biased against the newcomers, most of whom are from Latin America.

The proposed legislation, HR15, introduced Oct. 2 by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Joe García (D-Florida) pairs legal
residency opportunities with several billion dollars to bolster border protection. It follows the Senate’s June passage of its
SB744 immigration reform bill, which allotted much more, $46 billion. It passed by a 68-32 vote.

If the House bill passes, it is expected that any reform that materializes will be shaped in conference.

Members of the GOP trio all have large Hispanic constituencies. California farmers David Valadao (district 72% Hispanic) and Jeff Denham (42%), are serving their first and second congressional terms, respectively. Florida’s Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (also 72%) is completing her 13th term.

Valadao says he is asking those with an interest in reform to sign a general letter of support.

“I want to let other members know that we are serious about this and we need to move forward. I’m the freshman in the crowd, but I’m going to do my best to get signatures and see where the support is and if there is actually a chance to accomplish (comprehesive immigration reform) this year.”

Valadao’s parents emigrated from the Azore Islands of Portugal in 1969, eight years before he was born. His father became a citizen in the mid ’90s when Valadao was in high school. The costs, which can be $10,000 to $15,000 on attorney’s fees alone, plus the time and scrutiny that come with the process of gaining citizenship has held back his family and close friends, he says.

“They are spending ridiculous amounts on a system that is too complicated, doesn’t work and doesn’t give you any type of timeline on what your future holds. I think we need to clear that up so that it is not just open to people with money.”

Denham has been close to the struggle, too. Speaking with interest groups and knowing what is best for your constituency doesn’t compare to personal experiences, he says.

Denham is married to the daughter of Latinos from Puerto Rico and Mexico.

“There is nothing like having family. Walk through the system with them, …and you understand the flaws and really see the obstacles that you have to get through,” Denham says. “Not only to become a citizen, but even to become a legal permanent resident.”

He went through the process with his father-in-law who migrated from Aguascaliente, Mexico. Denham met his wife, Sonia Denham, who was born and raised in Salinas, Calif., while the two were attending Cal Poly San Luis Obisbo. He describes his wife’s cultural influence as one of a “hard work ethic and family values.”

He watched her family be restrained by the misrepresentations of how long it would take to get through the citizenship process
and the costs that were affiliated, he says.

“It is a large bureaucracy with a lot of wait time and processing fees,” he said. “But one of the biggest challenges was the citizenship test itself.”

Ros-Lehtinen became the first Hispanic woman and the first Cuban American elected to Congress in 1989.

“I'm cautiously optimistic that we can pass meaningful immigration reform," she states on her website. Other Members may produce a bipartisan product that may also deserve support, she adds.

(Featured Photo: Two of the three Republican Representatives who co-sponsored immigration reform bill: David Valadao (Calfornia) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Missing is Rep. Jeff Denham.)

View Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. paulette

    November 12, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    I have a son-in-law who is under a mandatory deportation He will be leaving a a wife of less than a year, 7yr old son, 5yr old daughter, 15mth old son and 5mth old son behind. My daughter is unable to work and he is the sole provider for his family. He works very hard and sometimes on only 2 hours of sleep. He has been in this country since he was 17 and is now 27. He does not want to leave his family, and why do the children have to lose their father and my daughter her husband. Now with her being unable to work that will put 5 more people on public assistance. And how will they collect child support from a father who they deported and who was supporting his family. How is this right or fair to the children or my wife and how is that fair to the public, who now have to support 5 people who had a husband and father who worked hard for his family. How is that morally acceptable?

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Local Stories

More in Local Stories

pres-and-old-black-and-white-photo

In CT, Borinqueneers honored with major thoroughfare but input left out of design for Congressional Gold Medal

Latina ListaJune 30, 2015
20141222_0092-1-copy-e1435254669268

Mission District’s Bolivian dance group celebrates 15 years

Latina ListaJune 29, 2015
544b55bccf868.image

U.S.-Mexico Border Wells Drying Up

Latina ListaJune 26, 2015
1743525_851156791635964_1258547508640946199_n

San Antonio artist establishes “M.A.S for the Masses

Latina ListaJune 25, 2015
Critics say one disadvantage of Structured English Immersion is that the only English speaker, the teacher, may have 20 students, which makes it hard for students to practice their English.

Federal court upholds Arizona’s process for teaching non-English speakers

Latina ListaJune 23, 2015
33688848_19ee6ca849_o

Latin American flags coming to streetlights in Chicago’s Humboldt Park

Latina ListaJune 22, 2015
Chicano Legacy 40 Anos

Campaign for ethnic studies in San Diego schools is getting results

Latina ListaJune 19, 2015
heirloom-bassinette

Texas’ denial of birth certificates being challenged in court

Latina ListaJune 17, 2015
iphone-import-3-17-14-387

Univ. of Texas El Paso’s researchers developing water filter to help colonias

Latina ListaJune 16, 2015