Rep. David Valadao Discusses New Republican Support Behind HR 15; Virginia Gubernatorial Race and New In-District Polls Reflect New Politics of Immigration
On today’s “Office Hours” press call, America’s Voice was honored to be joined by Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) who took the bold and important step this week of adding his name to the growing list of cosponsors behind HR 15. Rep. Valadao joins the likes of Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), as well as Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL) and 186 other Democrats who are backing this bill.
Congressman Valadao said:
The issue of immigration reform has touched my life personally and is something that is very important to me. I have witnessed first-hand how complicated and drawn out the process is and believe that our current immigration system is broken and in need of reform. By supporting H.R. 15 I am strengthening my message: Addressing immigration reform in the House of Representatives cannot wait. I am serious about making real progress and will remain committed to doing whatever it takes to repair our broken immigration system.
This week also saw a surge in conservative support for HR15, both inside and outside the beltway. Over 600 leaders from 40 states stormed the Capitol this week in an effort to target key Republican Members who could play a key role in moving reform forward. And new polls in Republican districts in California and Texas showed that general voters, including Republicans, are overwhelmingly supportive of bills like HR 15 and a pathway to citizenship for aspiring Americans.
Said David Flaherty, Colorado-based Founder and CEO of Magellan Strategies, who conducted the polls:
One of the biggest conclusions to draw from this research is that voters across every demographic, including Republicans, will overwhelmingly support immigration reform legislation that ensures undocumented immigrants currently living in the US pay a penalty, learn English, pass a criminal background check, pay taxes and wait a minimum of 13 years before they can become eligible for citizenship. As long as those elements are in any proposed bill these Representatives can feel comfortable taking a leadership role in passing immigration reform as they can expect support among 69% or more of all likely 2014 voters, and more than 70% support from Republican voters.
With election day in Virginia next week, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s huge lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli, the race could be a sign of things to come for the GOP in 2014 with regard to the politics of immigration and the Latino, Asian and immigrant vote.
Said Xavier Medina Vidal, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Virginia Tech:
The surge in Latino, Asian and immigrant voters is not just a problem for Ken Cuccinelli, it’s a problem for the Republican Party nationally. His hardline positions on many social issues are hurting him in the polls, but it’s his extremist ties on immigration that have the potential to sew his fate with this new and growing electorate. The GOP should take note: Cuccinell’s story is not just a Virginia story. Changing demographics and a surge in Latino voters across the country will have a significant impact on Republican candidates who fail to grasp the importance of immigration to this rising class of voters.
Concluded Frank Sharry, Executive Director, America’s Voice:
This was a momentous week in the immigration debate. The House immigration bill, HR 15, has not only 187 Democratic cosponsors, it has three Republican cosponsors. The Republicans, such as Rep. Valadao, have shown leadership by making a serious commitment to moving reform forward. The question now is whether or not the House Republican leadership and caucus is ready to step up and take votes. The window of opportunity between now and the end of the year is the best chance to move immigration reform to the House floor so that it then moves to bicameral negotiations.