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Getting to A Majority: More House Republicans Come Out for Citizenship

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30 House Republicans and Counting Support Immigration Reform and Citizenship

At America’s Voice, we believe there are enough votes for a path to citizenship to pass in the House — if Speaker Boehner will allow a vote. We’ve been compiling supportive quotes from GOP House members.

As former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill famously said, “all politics is local.” That’s certainly true on immigration. There’s been amazing work done by activists across the country to push their members of Congress to come out for citizenship — and that work will continue through the August recess and until we pass real reform. Some of the GOP members are from districts with large Latino populations. But there is also strong support from several very conservative members in deep red states. We know other Republicans are supportive — even if they haven’t announced it publicly.

Last month, Chris Van Hollen, who serves in House Democratic leadership, said that there are “at least 200 Democratic votes” in the House for a Senate-like bill.

Below, we’ve compiled support for immigration reform and citizenship from 30 Republicans.  To pass a bill in the House, we only need 218 votes.  That’s definitely achievable (at least 200 Dems + at least 30 Republicans) — if Boehner will let the House vote.

Here are the Republicans who have come out for citizenship:

1.       REP. MARIO DIAZ-BALART (R-FL)  2009 or earlier

One of the bipartisan “Gang of 7” working on a comprehensive immigration bill that includes a path to citizenship.

2.       REP. SAM JOHNSON (R-TX) 2009 or earlier

One of the bipartisan “Gang of 7” working on a comprehensive immigration bill that includes a path to citizenship.

3.       REP. JOHN CARTER (R-TX) 2009 or earlier

One of the bipartisan “Gang of 7” working on a comprehensive immigration bill that includes a path to citizenship.

4.       REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R-FL) February 6, 2013

“I’m in favor of a citizenship path.”  (via Real Clear Politics)

5.       REP. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA) February 6, 2013

“I think all of us Republicans know that we don’t want a class of residents that will never be offered an opportunity for citizenship. We’re the party of Lincoln, and the party of Lincoln would not accept people living in our country and not being citizens, or not being given the opportunity to become citizens.” (via Real Clear Politics)

6.       REP. RAUL LABRADOR (R-ID) March 20, 2013

“What I think should happen is for illegal immigrants to come out of the shadows, become legalized in some way and that status could lead in someway to legal residency and citizenship eventually but just the same as everybody else.” (via Politico)

7.       DON YOUNG (R-AK) April 5, 2013

“We believe this legislation should secure our border, streamline our legal immigration system and provide a clear and responsible path to citizenship for those already here.” (letter signed with Alaska Senators Murkowski and Begich)

8.       GREG WALDEN (R-OR) June 3, 2013

“If they pay a fine, if they true up in all their areas and then go to the back of the line, there’s probably a way then that they can get (citizenship).”  (via USA Today)

9.       REP. PETER KING (R-NY) June 5, 2013

“‘If you’re here legally, there should be a path to citizenship and so to that extent we’re on the same page.’ King clarified the comment Tuesday to the Daily News, specifically the ‘here legally’ qualifier, stating that he backs a path for country’s roughly 11 million otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants.” (New York Daily News)

10.     REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI) June 6, 2013

“I do support what (the Gang of 7) are doing. I think they put out a good product. It’s good policy.” (via The Hill)

11.   REP. SPENCER BACHUS (R-AL) June 13, 2013

“Because I don’t think we ought to have two classes of long-term residents, I support a pathway to citizenship.” (via House Judiciary Committee)

12.   REP. DAVID VALADAO (R-CA) July 1, 2013

“Once you talk to the members and explain to them it’s a process, where they can work for it, appreciate it and someday become citizens –just like my parents did — most members begin to understand.” (via the Fresno Bee)

13.   REP. JEFF DENHAM (R-CA) July 9, 2013

“I am concerned with the Republican Party from a national perspective. We have very diverse districts around the entire nation, and I think how we handle the overall immigration issue could have dramatic impacts to the future of the Republican Party. …I think the Senate’s done a good job. ” (via Politico)

14.   REP. TIM GRIFFIN (R-AR) July 9, 2013

“I support a pathway to legal status, and once they are legal, those individuals, then they can get behind the people who have been legally following the rules and they can pursue citizenship.” (via KARK Capitol View)

15.   REP. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK) July 10, 2013

I wouldn’t prohibit forever (people from getting citizenship). I’m a Christian, and restitution and reconciliation’s a big deal. If you do something illegal or inappropriate you should be able to resolve that, face the penalty, clear it and be forgiven.” (via the Associated Press)

16.   REP. MICHAEL GRIMM (R-NY) July 10, 2013

Legalization ultimately leads to citizenship. That is the ultimate goal. ” (via YNN)

17.   REP. MICHAEL KELLY (R-PA) July 15, 2013

“Is there is a path to citizenship? I think there is. But I think our plan is about breaking it into separate pieces.” (via Face the Nation)

18.   REP. JOE HECK (R-NV) July 19, 2013

“I’ve said, and I’ve always said, that I think a tough but fair pathway to earned citizenship that doesn’t allow anyone to jump to the front of the line, that has certain benchmarks that need to be met, like the ability to show that you can support yourself and your family, that you can speak English, that you have a clean criminal and national security backgroundcheck, that I would support those.” (via KNPR)

19.   REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA) July 23, 2013

A survey of GOP House members’ offices conducted by the San Francisco Chronicle confirmed that Rep. Nunes supports a path to citizenship.

20.   REP. MIKE COFFMAN (R-CO) July 24, 2013

(Coffman) believes comprehensive immigration reform — increased border security and a provisional legal status for the millions of undocumented people living in the United States now — needs to happen mostly simultaneously. Then, when it has been proven the border is secure a pathway to apply for legal citizenship should be opened for all undocumented people, he said.” (the Denver Post)

21.   REP. DANIEL WEBSTER (R-FL) August 4, 2013

“On the same day Congress adjourned for a five-week break, U.S. Rep. Dan Webster did something he’s avoided for months: speak at length about immigration reform and declare his support for an approach that would give unauthorized immigrants a pathway to citizenship.” (Orlando Sentinel)

22.   REP. AARON SCHOCK (R-IL) August 5, 2013

I think that at some point, when the border is secured and people pay their taxes and they haven’t committed any violations of laws. They have been here for a provisionary period, then they can apply for citizenship.” (via YouTube video of a town hall event)

23.   REP. DAVID REICHERT (R-WA) August 7, 2013

“What about those folks who have been here 25 years? They have families here and kids…what do you do with those people?…I want them to pay a fine, there’s some penalties they have to through, steps that they are gonna go through. I want to hold them accountable and then they get citizenship and pay taxes…” (via KVI)

24.   REP. MARK AMODEI (R-NV) August 14, 2013

“At the end of 10 years, if you want to become a citizen, you go to the (federal immigration system) and start the process like anybody else. I don’t think that’s amnesty.” (via Gannett)

25.   REP. JUSTIN AMASH (R-MI) August 16, 2013

“You have to find a way to give them legal status over a long period of time. Once they’ve obtained legal status—so there’s a path to legal status—then they are treated like anyone else who is here as a legal resident. If they want to obtain citizenship, they’re not put ahead of anyone else. They’re treated like anyone else who came here legally.” (via CSPAN)

26.   REP. SEAN DUFFY (R-WI) August 20, 2013

“I think a fair system is this: allow those who have come without documentation a legal status…If they do want those rights (of citizens), they can apply, like any other person around the world, but that means they get to the back of the line.” (via WRN)

27.   REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R-UT) August 21, 2013

“There should be a pathway to citizenship, not a special pathway and not no pathway, but there has to be a legal lawful way to go through this process that works and right now it doesn’t.” (via ABC 4)

28.   REP. CHRIS STEWART (R-UT), September 4, 2013

QUESTIONER: “Chaffetz said he agrees with the path to citizenship, not a special path and not no path, would you second that?”

STEWART: “I think that’s exactly right.” (via YouTube video of a town hall event)

29.     REP. VANCE MCALLISTER (R-LA), November 3, 2013 

“We have to secure the borders, but (citizenship) has to be attainable for those people already here. It has to be a tough path, but it has to be attainable.” (via The Town Talk)

30.     REP. RENEE ELLMERS (R-NC), January 21, 2014

“(T)he best course of action is one that provides an earned legal work status that would not be given indiscriminately. Instead, it would be contingent on some combination of paying a penalty, admitting to violating the law, and verifying identity. Only after this legal work status is obtained can individuals have the opportunity to begin the naturalization process – if that is their choice.” (via the Fayetteville Observer)


And, here’s Rep. Van Hollen (D-MD) laying out the number of Democrats who would support the Senate bill:

The trend line is moving in our direction. We can win this  – when we get a vote.