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Third Republican joins Democrats’ immigration bill

Moves signal momentum for action in House

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Three Republicans have signed up for House Democrats' immigration bill as of Wednesday afternoon, marking a steady increase in support and adding to pressure on GOP leaders to take some action before the end of the year.

Rep. David G. Valadao of California on Wednesday became the third Republican, following fellow California Rep. Jeff Denham over the weekend and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on Tuesday.

That means there are at least 190 sponsors, including all but about a dozen House Democrats, for the bill, labeled House Resolution 15 or H.R. 15.

"By supporting H.R. 15 I am strengthening my message: Addressing immigration reform in the House cannot wait," Mr. Valadao said in a statement. "I am serious about making real progress and will remain committed to doing whatever it takes to repair our broken immigration system."

The Democratic bill would grant a specific new pathway to citizenship to most illegal immigrants.

It adopts most of the provisions that were included in the Senate's immigration bill, which passed that chamber on a bipartisan 68-32 vote earlier this year.

The one major change was that House Democrats cut out the stiff new border security provisions such as 20,000 new Border Patrol agents and 350 miles of additional border fencing that senators added to win over GOP support. Instead, House Democrats have called for giving the Homeland Security Department the flexibility to decide what new border security measures are needed.

The House Democrats' bill is more than 1,100 pages, and also includes a rewrite of guest-worker programs, new restrictions on interior enforcement, and a requirement that all businesses check new employees through an electronic verification system.

House Republican leaders, who control the chamber, have said they would rather tackle the immigration issue in pieces, rather than passing a massive bill that they said would be similar to Obamacare.

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