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Incumbent GOP Rep. Jeff Denham of California’s 10th congressional district is facing a serious challenge from Democratic contender Josh Harder this cycle. Immigration is a major issue in this Central Valley heavily Latino district and Rep. Denham has long touted himself as a pro-immigrant Republican.
But an editorial in the local Modesto Bee newspaper endorses Rep. Denham’s opponent, Josh Harder, recognizing that Democratic control of the House is a necessary precondition of any progress for Dreamers. Meanwhile, a Los Angeles Times article captures Denham’s real and mixed record on immigration, which calls into question the simple narrative and self-portrayal of Rep. Denham as a unabashed pro-immigrant champion. For example, while talking a big game about delivering for Dreamers, Rep. Denham in the end went along with Republican leadership and voted for a partisan bill that included steep cuts to legal immigration and funding for a border wall.
Relevant excerpts of the Modesto Bee editorial are below:
If you like what our nation is becoming, send Denham back to Congress. But if you’re worried about millions being left behind economically, that healthcare is endangered, that discrimination is increasing, that our nation is sundered by rage fueled on both sides by an angry, unchecked president, then vote for Josh Harder … Re-electing Denham, we wrote then, would further enable a President Trump by helping his party control all branches of government. That’s how it has turned out. Denham has proved a loyal foot soldier, voting 97.8 percent of the time to further Trump’s agenda – a far higher percentage than many more doctrinaire Republicans.
…Denham did more than most Republicans to protect young people brought here as children and raised as Americans, even bucking his party’s leaders. But after earning a reputation as one of Trump’s most solid backers, he couldn’t convince his cruel taskmaster that revoking DACA was a heartless folly. Nor could he convince enough of his Republican pals to pass legislation to protect the Dreamers.
An estimated 5,000 of Denham’s constituents are among 680,000 young people now living in a court-ordered limbo, protected only so long as judges say they are. The only chance Dreamers have is for Congress to force immigration reform down Trump’s throat. That happens only if Democrats take control.
The following is a statement from Matt Hildreth, Political Director of America’s Voice:
So-called ‘pro-immigrant’ House Republicans such as Jeff Denham have proven more interested in protecting their congressional seats and burnishing their image back home than actually protecting Dreamers and delivering real results on immigration. They try to make motion look like progress and want credit for talking a big game about standing up to Trump and the anti-immigrant drift of the GOP, but in the end, they have turned their backs on bipartisan solutions and instead caved to the far right in exchange for, well, nothing.
As the local editorial captures, if you want Dreamers to be protected and to advance actual pro-immigrant policies, better elect Democrats and build a Congressional majority dedicated to doing something more than posturing.