Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Are Valley Republicans vulnerable if immigration reform fails?

A poll released today suggests that at least seven Republicans in Congress, including the Valley’s Jeff Denham and David Valadao, could pay the political price of their jobs if immigration reform doesn’t pass this year.

Backlash by voters could be so great that the Republican Party could loose its majority in the House next year, according to pro-immigration reform group Americans United For Change.

The left-leaning advocacy timed the release of its new polling results with a planned closed-door meeting this afternoon by House Republicans, who are trying to figure out what to do next about immigration reform legislation.

“This is obviously a vexing issue for Republicans. We wanted to give them food for thought,” said Brad Woodhouse, president of Americans United For Change.

Woodhouse said that if Republicans won’t support immigration reform on its merits, maybe they would support it to stay in office.

The reform effort calls for a path to citizenship or permanent residency for millions of undocumented immigrants.

The group’s poll suggests that Republicans and Independents favor an overhaul: in the seven Senate districts surveyed, 75% to 78% of voters want the immigration system fixed this year and 61% to 69% support the proposal that the Senate recently passed.

The seven districts surveyed are those expected to have among the tightest races in next year’s election.

Americans United For Change said that voters would punish Republicans if they don’t come on board with an overhaul.

In California’s 10th District, 44% of voters would be less likely to support Denham of Turlock next year if he votes against immigration reform, while 24% would be more likely, according to the poll.

In the 21st District, 42% of voters would be less likely to support Valadao of Hanford if he doesn’t support reform legislation, according to the poll. About 20% would be more likely.

Of course, if Democrats get blamed for the failure of immigration reform, should nothing pass this year, then voters may feel differently about their representatives come next year’s elections.

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