9 House Republicans Who Risked Their Seats By Voting To Deport DREAMers

Bill Scher

Last month I listed the “16 House Republicans Who Could Lose For Blocking Immigration Reform” incorporating incumbents who are in districts that “professional congressional handicappers … deem to be competitive races, and where according to Latino Decisions poll analyst David Damore the Latino population is significant enough – exceeding or approaching the incumbent’s 2012 margin of victory – to influence the outcome of the election.” Since then, that list has shrunk to 13 as Reps. John Kline, Frank LoBiondo and Scott Rigell are no longer considered to be competitive races according to two of the three main professional handicappers.

On Friday, the House voted on a bill that not only stops the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program from providing waivers to undocumented immigrants under 31 who arrived before they were 16, but also makes those currently in the program vulnerable to deportation. As I wrote over at Real Clear Politics, Speaker John Boehner did not initially intend to put such anti-immigrant legislation on the floor, but Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and his House followers made ending DACA the price for agreeing to spending any money on resolving the child migrant influx.

Friday’s vote was an uncomfortable one for the 13. They would prefer to duck immigration issues from now to November and avoid being torn between their conservative and Latino constituencies.

And while 11 Republicans overall voted against scrapping DACA, only four on the list of 13 we’re willing to break party ranks and side with immigrant families: Reps. Mike Coffman (Colo.), Jeff Denham (Calif.), Joe Heck (Nev.) and David Valadao (Calif.). All four are in districts where the Latino percentage of the voting age population is in double digits, and Coffman and Valadao are considered to be in particularly tight re-election races.

That means nine others on the list have taken the risk of angering their Latino constituents and voting to make the young undocumenteds known as “DREAMers” newly susceptible to deportation. Here are the nine who may soon face some very unpleasant campaign ads:

Rep. Dan Benishek
Michigan – 1st district
Tenure in Congress: 2nd term

Latino Voting Age Population: 1.1%
Margin of Victory 2012: 0.5%

House Race Ratings
Rothenberg: Toss-up/Tilt Republican
Cook: Lean Republican
Sabato: Lean Republican

Immigration position: Advocacy group America’s Voice says Benishek has “been silent on immigration reform.” He faces a right-wing primary challenger who is trying to use his U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsement against him. The Chamber is supportive of immigration reform.

Rep. Rodney Davis
Illinois – 13th district
Tenure in Congress: 1st term

Latino Voting Age Population: 2.6%
Margin of Victory 2012: 0.3%

House Race Ratings
Rothenberg: Toss-up/Tilt Republican
Cook: Lean Republican
Sabato: Lean Republican

Immigration position: He has avoided taking a clear position. A reporter from his local NBC affiliate was unable to get him to comment on immigration earlier this year. When the Senate passed its bill, Davis called it a “disaster” while suggesting he might support a pathway to citizenship in a differently written bill.

Rep. Chris Gibson
New York – 19th district
Tenure in Congress: 2nd term

Latino Voting Age Population: 5.4%
Margin of Victory 2012: 5.8%

House Race Ratings
Rothenberg: Toss-up/Tilt Republican
Cook: Lean Republican
Sabato: Toss-up

Immigration position: He has avoided taking a clear position. He says the Senate bill “doesn’t really solve the problem.” America’s Voice reports he won’t “discuss citizenship until border security, other pieces are in place.”

 

Rep. Michael Grimm
New York – 11th district
Tenure in Congress: 2nd term

Latino Voting Age Population: 13.9%
Margin of Victory 2012: 5.4%

House Race Ratings
Rothenberg: Lean Democrat
Cook: Lean Democrat
Sabato: Lean Democrat

Immigration position: He has expressed support for a path to citizenship once the border is deemed secure. However, he was recently indicted on fraud charges stemming from his hiring of undocumented immigrants to work at his health food restaurant. One of six Republicans to vote against amendment denying funds for Obama’s 2012 executive order de-prioritizing deportations of undocumented who came as children.

Rep. Bill Johnson
Ohio – 6th district
Tenure in Congress: 2nd term

Latino Voting Age Population: 0.7%
Margin of Victory 2012: 6.6%

House Race Ratings
Rothenberg: Republican Favored
Cook: Likely Republican
Sabato: Likely Republican

Immigration position: Strongly against reform. Wrote last year, “There has been a lot of talk by some about providing amnesty to illegal immigrants, and developing a ‘comprehensive’ immigration policy to fix this problem. In my view, providing amnesty to those who’ve broken our laws is wrong. Period. And before Washington discusses any changes to the visa waiver program, temporary workers program, or anything else, we must secure the border. Without border security, ‘immigration reform’ is useless.”

Rep. Steve Pearce
New Mexico – 2nd district
Tenure in Congress: 5th term (non-consecutive)

Latino Voting Age Population: 46.9%
Margin of Victory 2012: 18%

House Race Ratings
Rothenberg: Safe Republican
Cook: Likely Republican
Sabato: Likely Republican

Immigration position: A 2013 Wall Street Journal profile reported he was supportive of legalization but not a path to citizenship: “Pearce said he supported granting work permits to the 11 million or so immigrants now in the U.S. illegally. But if they want to become citizens, he said, they will have to leave the U.S. and ‘get in line like everyone else.'” A New York Times profiles quotes him saying “there is another alternative that would allow families to stay together, that would allow people to work, that just would not make them citizens. Because that makes me very nervous as a policy.”

Rep. Tom Reed
New York – 23rd district
Tenure in Congress: 2nd term

Latino Voting Age Population: 2.6%
Margin of Victory 2012: 3.8%

House Race Ratings
Rothenberg: Lean Republican
Cook: Likely Republican
Sabato: Lean Republican

Immigration position: Last year he moved away from an absolute anti-citizenship position to supporting citizenship for undocumented children. This year he signed a letter from the New York Farm Bureau calling for non-specific immigration reform to improve “farm labor availability.”

 

Rep. Steve Southerland
Florida – 2nd district
Tenure in Congress: 2nd term

Latino Voting Age Population: 4.8%
Margin of Victory 2012: 5.4%

House Race Ratings
Rothenberg: Toss-up/Tilt Republican
Cook: Toss-up
Sabato: Lean Republican

Immigration position: He has avoided taking a clear position. The Miami Herald reported on his comments from an August 2013 town hall: “Southerland sounded more open to the idea of a general pathway to citizenship, Still, he drew a distinction between young people brought as children and those who came when they were older and knew they were breaking the law. Southerland said he wasn’t sure about whether they should be granted a special path to citizenship or legal residency. ‘If there’s going to be a chance to create a legal path, there has to be a recognition of the wrong done,’ Southerland said, indicating they would need to pay fines and express contrition. ‘But I believe in reconciliation.'” He supports legislation to legalize undocumented children that serve in the military.

Rep. Jackie Walorski
Indiana – 2nd district
Tenure in Congress: 1st term

Latino Voting Age Population: 6.3%
Margin of Victory 2012: 1.4%

House Race Ratings
Rothenberg: Republican Favored
Cook: Likely Republican
Sabato: Likely Republican

Immigration position: Relentlessly vague. Her spokesperson says she “will take a careful look at each bill that is offered.” One local labor activist says “Her position remains somewhat elusive, except to say she’s constantly listening.”

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