Central Valley Republican Congressman David Valadao has been talking about the need for immigration reform for months. He recently told reporters he wanted to exhaust all other possibilities before signing on to a Democratic bill that includes a pathway to citizenship.
That day has come sooner than expected, with Valadao's Wednesday announcement that he is supporting the bill from the rival party.
Valadao says he's been working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle "to find common ground on the issue of immigration reform." He says he's focused his efforts on joining with "like-minded Republicans in organizing and demonstrating to Republican Leadership broad support within the party to address immigration reform in the House by the end of the year."
One of those "like-minded" colleagues is Jeff Denham, the first GOP co-sponsor of H.R. 15, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. Valadao says he met Tuesday with Denham to talk about the bill.
Valadao, a son of Portuguese immigrants, says by supporting H.R. 15 he's "strengthening" his message that addressing immigration reform in the House "cannot wait."
The United Farmworkers of America hosted a town hall meeting on immigration this summer in Bakersfield featuring Valadao. Arturo Rodriguez, head of the United Farm Workers union, says "We are glad to see he's a man of his word and has moved into action."
Fellow GOP Congressman Devin Nunes of Tulare is not ready to jump on the bandwagon and says H.R. 15 is a non-starter. He says if Democrats are "pushing that, you're just trying to kill immigration reform."