The Avenue

This Week in Immigration Reform: 40 to 50 Republican Votes in the House?

Nicole Prchal Svajlenka

Rep. Luis Gutierrez easily made the most notable immigration reform news coming out of the House this recess week. Gutierrez said there is a critical mass of GOP members who would support a comprehensive reform bill: “If [the administration] asked me today, go find those 40 or 50 Republicans, I’d tell them I found them.”

Maybe Gutierrez is on to something—on Thursday, ABC News reported that Republican Reps. Daniel Webster (FL) and Aaron Schock (IL) recently “expressed preliminary support for a way to legalize undocumented immigrants and allow them to eventually earn full citizenship.” AILA notes that with Dave Reichert’s (WA) support, the number of potential Republicans supporting legalization rises to 22.

Meanwhile, other Democrats in the House are not waiting. The New Democrat Coalition sent a letter to GOP Speaker John Boehner, asking him to introduce a comprehensive reform bill containing a path to citizenship by September 30, or they will “consider introducing a comprehensive immigration reform bill.” The Washington Post’s Plum Line details the other option on the table, a discharge petition, which would bring the Senate’s bill to the floor. Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer is on board for conferencing piecemeal bills from the House, so long as they provide a pathway to citizenship. 

Some advocates are already thinking about the White House’s role if reform fails. But in an interview with Fox News Latino, White House Domestic Policy Council director Cecilia Munoz indicated the Obama administration has no current plans to circumvent Congress if immigration reform fails. One idea floated by the Washington Post editorial board to bolster support for broader reform is to pass the DREAM Act, hoping it will draw more attention and hold the public’s interest.

The first full week of the congressional recess has seen its share of activism and outreach outside the Beltway. Labor unions gathered outside House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s district office, business lobbies announced plans to fan out to a number of GOP districts, Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us launched an ad campaign, and the Bridge Project announced plans for outreach to “everyday Americans.”

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