Politics

Immigration reform supporter Valadao frustrated with President and House

Valadao frustrated with President and House over immigration
Valadao frustrated with President and House over immigration
Kitty Felde/KPCC

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U.S. Rep. David Valadao is one of just three House Republicans who joined Democrats to co-sponsor a comprehensive immigration bill this year.

That bill was never brought to the floor for a vote.

Now Valadao is unhappy with both President Obama, who's plans to move forward Thursday with his own immigration proposal, and with his Republican  colleagues in the House.

"I'm frustrated with the President because I don’t feel he’s done a very good job working across (the Hill) with the House. I’m frustrated with the House because they’ve chosen to take a step by step approach, but we haven’t taken a first step." 

Valadao, of Hanford in the Central Valley, believes immigration reform should come in the form of legislation, not an executive action by the White House. He says he's reminding fellow lawmakers that if they want immigration reform "to be done right, we should do it ourselves."

Despite his support for a path to citizenship, Valadao was the target this year of a Spanish language campaign attack ad, paid for by the Service Employees International Union.

The ad pastes his picture next to that of House Speaker John Boehner and one of the most vocal opponents of immigration reform, Congressman Steve King of Iowa, accusing him of blocking immigration reform.

Valadao just shakes his head. "It taught me a lot about Washington," he says. "That no matter what, you do the right thing and you do what’s right for the district, and they’re still going to spin it and use it against you."

He won’t say whether he’ll support GOP threats to defund whatever the President proposes, calling the situation too fluid.