Humanitarian agency Church World Service welcomes Representative Jeff Denham's co-sponsorship of H.R. 15, the House's version of the bi-partisan Senate immigration reform bill.
"We thank Congressman Denham for signing onto this important legislation," said CWS President and CEO, the Rev. John L. McCullough. "Now that this bill carries support from both Republicans and Democrats, CWS urges House leadership to bring immigration reform up for a vote. We urge all members of the House to support this legislation, and to move our country forward on immigration reform."
During the recent government shutdown, CWS convened top faith leaders to stand alongside Rep. Denham (R-Calif.-10) at a press conference in front of the Capitol building, where he boldly said, “We have to get this fixed. This is not a Republican issue, this is not a Democrat issue, this is an American issue.”
On Sunday, Rep. Denham added his name as the first Republican to join 185 Democrats who are co-sponsoring H.R. 15. CWS now expects to see more GOP colleagues join him. CWS has welcomed the introduction of H.R. 15, noting in particular the removal of the border surge provisions that were in the Senate bill, and the inclusion of a more moderate, bi-partisan border policy proposal that already passed the House Homeland Security Committee. With bi-partisan support, it is more likely that this bill could move forward to a final vote.
Since the Senate passed its bipartisan immigration reform bill earlier this year, advocates have been pressing the House to act. For immigration reform to become law, the House needs 218 votes to enact a bill. Although House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio-8) said earlier this year he would only allow a vote on an immigration bill if it had the support of a majority of Republicans, the political landscape could be shifting after he waived this rule to re-open the government and increase the debt ceiling. CWS wants to see a vote on immigration reform before the end of this year.
"CWS calls on House leadership to demonstrate the moral courage that we have seen Congressman Denham take, and to bring immigration reform up for a vote," said Rev. McCullough. "Thousands of people of faith across the country have been calling for reform that would reunite families and create a path to citizenship for our undocumented community members. We have and will continue to meet with and pray for all members of the House, that they will be moved to do the right thing and enact immigration reform now!"