A Republican congressman from California is bucking his party and joining Democrats in their push for a broad immigration overhaul.
Rep. Jeff Denham represents a heavily Hispanic district, and is signing on to a plan that includes a path to citizenship despite strong opposition to that approach among conservatives. Denham is the bill’s first GOP co-sponsor.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is receiving pressure from Democrats to bring up an immigration bill designed to appeal to centrist Republicans.
The measure builds on bipartisan legislation previously passed by the Senate.
It appears unlikely that Boehner will take up the bill before the end of the year, with only a handful of working weeks left for Congress to handle its other business.
But Denham told the Washington Post on Saturday that his party’s leaders have said that “we’re going to have this on the floor” by January.
He said he agreed to sign on to the bill after Democrats agreed to include a provision that would include put some illegal immigrants serving in the military on a path to citizenship.
Denham announced his decision Sunday in a pre-taped interview with Univision’s “Al Punto” program.
“I support an earned path to citizenship to allow those who want to become citizens to demonstrate a commitment to our country, learn English, pay fines and back taxes and pass background checks. This is a common-sense solution to our broken system,” Denham said in a statement Sunday.