Jeff Denham has made some waves over the past 36 hours as he became the first Republican Congress member to sign on to the House Democrats immigration reform proposal.
A Republican congressman from a heavily Hispanic district is breaking ranks from his party to join Democrats in an eleventh-hour push for a broad immigration overhaul before the end of the year. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) plans to sign on as the lone GOP member with 185 Democrats to co-sponsor a plan that would give millions of unauthorized immigrants the chance to attain citizenship.
A handful of House Republicans have expressed support for citizenship legislation similar to the bipartisan bill that passed the Senate over the summer. But Denham is taking the additional - and politically provocative - step of locking arms with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and other Democrats trying to neutralize opposition from House conservatives and shake up a polarized immigration debate.(WaPo)
Denham has a strong challenger in Michael Eggman and some lagging poll numbers after the shutdown. He needs a change in the conversation from the disaster that the Republicans brought down upon the country. Immigration is a pivotal issue in a district with a strong Latino voter base, and Denham has never been a true believer in the rightwing on this front, so this is something of a fit. But it is a fit that was almost preordained by the politics.
But, at this point, a lot is still needed to make immigration reform actually happen. And even if there is some political cynicism at work, at least it is going the right direction.