Some House Democrats Could Bail on Immigration

Especially those from moderate or conservative districts

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 8, 2013 2:48 PM CDT

(Newser) – Don't expect House Democrats to rally unanimously behind immigration reform the way their Senate counterparts did. A whole lot of them sound like anything but a firm "yes" vote, the Wall Street Journal observes. Many hail from swing districts, and are waiting to stake out a hard stance until Republicans settle on a strategy. "I'm opposed to granting amnesty," says West Virginia's Nick Rahall, the grandson of legal immigrants from Lebanon, saying it would be unfair to those who've patiently waited to come legally.

It's hard to say how many Democrats are wavering. Many right-leaning "Blue Dogs" were ousted in 2010. In their place a centrist "New Democrats" coalition has risen, and 39 of its 53 members signed a recent letter backing a pathway to citizenship. The other 14 might need some convincing. Georgia's John Barrow, for instance, says tightening border security is his first priority. "Like a preacher friend of mine once said, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing," he explains.

Nick J. Rahall, seen in this file photo, is one of several House Democrats wary of immigration reform.   (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner)
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Any Democrat in a district that Romney carried is going to really have a reason to vote against this. - Roy Beck, head of the anti-immigration group Numbers USA.

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