Immigration Reform Supporters to Court 5 PA Republicans

Joe-Pitts
Rep. Joe Pitts

According to a memo published by the Washington Post, immigration reform are looking at five Pa. Congressmen whose voting records – or significant Latino populations – make them likely to support a bill.

Last week, the Senate approved a bipartisan effort to reform the nation’s immigration system, but Speaker Boehner indicated the House would not even consider the Senate bill.

Nonetheless, supporters (including interest groups and House Democrats) are preparing for the possibility of a vote. Their theory is that with most Democratic votes and about 20 Republican congressmen they can cobble together a majority. They named 99 potential GOP votes in a memo.

Among those included in the list are Reps. Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks), Jim Gerlach (R-Chester) and Pat Meehan (R-Delaware). Most interesting is Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Chester).

According to the document, the first four men are considered amenable because they all voted for the latest incarnation of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The vote is seen as a possible indicator because some conservatives opposed the legislation because it extended protections to immigrants.

Pitts made this list for a different reason: 16% of his constituents are Latino. It’s the second-highest percentage in Pa. behind Rep. Bob Brady’s 1st district (D-Phila).

Dent’s 15th district has a significant Latino population as well (13%), while the other three Congressmen represent districts with less than five percent Latino representation.

That’s the problem for reform advocates generally. Only 5.9% of Pennsylvania’s population is Latino, so the electoral pressure from that group is smaller here than in many other states.

In an effort to pressure the names on the list, on Tuesday the group Pennsylvania United for Immigration Reform (PUIR) held press conferences in the districts of all these men, save Meehan.

3 Responses

  1. The Politico Playbook this-a.m. states: “In private conversations, top Republicans on Capitol Hill now predict comprehensive immigration reform will die a slow, months-long death in the House.”

    http://politi.co/187f8Cs

    Thus, the entire issue may never even come up for a vote.

  2. Pitts is at an age now where bigger city demographics may not mean as much as small town interest. Pitts is from southern Chester County. There have always been numerous Mexican workers, documented and otherwise, working at mushroom farms in the Kennett Square region.

  3. Just a couple of quick facts. There are two major cities in Pitts’ district. Lancaster with 39.3% Hispanic population in 2010 and growing and Reading, the only city in Pennsylvania with a majority Hispanic population at 58.2% in 2010. Lancaster County as a whole has 9.3% Hispanic population and Berks County has a 17.5%. Joe Pitts needs to and has been courting the Hispanic vote.

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