Republican Tally on Immigration Principles an Evolving Project
Posted at 7:16 p.m. on Feb. 25
CQ Roll Call published a list of where House Republicans stand on the immigration principles released by GOP leadership, and initial responses make clear the issue is still one that allows for nuance and creates stress for the party.
We have updated the list, and found 19 House Republicans say “yes” they support the principles, two Republicans could possibly support them. There are 34 Republicans in the “no” category. Three have qualified their answers. The tally stands at 26 Republicans either undecided or with no position yet and 21 who have declined to comment. And 127 have not responded to our queries made over a two-week period.
Those figures were calculated as we heard from a number of lawmakers’ offices who wanted to be moved from one category to another, as well as by fixing a few of our own mistakes, all clearly documented in the story.
The most significant change was Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., who asked to be moved from a “yes” to a “no.”
As CQ Roll Call conducted the survey, DeSantis initially told our reporter that the principles were “vague enough” to support, though he did qualify that by saying his overall support for an immigration overhaul depended on the actual legislative text. That sounded good enough for us to count him as supporting the immigration principles. But on Tuesday, DeSantis’ office asked us to move him to the “no” category.
Another significant change was Joe Heck of Nevada. Heck’s office asked us to move him from a did not respond to “yes,” he backs the immigration principles. It seems there was a miscommunication in that office when we asked for the yes or no answer, and they never got back to us. Heck’s support isn’t completely shocking, given his public positions on the issue.
Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the current Science, Space and Technology Committee chairman and the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, also contacted CQ Roll Call to tell us he wanted to be moved from the did not respond category to a firm “no.” Smith has long opposed legislation that would legalize illegal immigrants, so that’s not surprising.
Rep. Jack Kingston, who is locked in a heated race for Georgia’s open Senate seat, contacted CQ Roll Call on Tuesday as well to tell us we should move him into the “no” column from “declined to comment.” Kingston continues to attempt to show Georgia Republican primary voters that he’s just as conservative as his opponents, Reps. Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, among others. Both Gingrey and Broun had previously announced they are against the immigration principles.
Meanwhile, the office of Luke Messer, R-Ind., contacted CQ Roll Call to have us move him from declined to comment to undecided. We obliged.
And the first day the whip list went public we were also able to clean up some of our own mistakes.
Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam of Illinois, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Tom Petri of Wisconsin and Lee Terry of Nebraska were accidentally left off the list at its first publication. Roskam’s office told us they don’t participate in surveys, Pompeo’s office never responded, Petri should have been listed as undecided and Terry is still undecided. Terry’s office told us he hasn’t seen the plan but that “any plan must have border security and E-verify components.”
John Shimkus of Illinois was also listed twice, once as a declined to respond and once in did not respond. Both were an error. His office told us he “does not support amnesty or citizenship for those who broke the law. … believes we should address the issues of border security and streamlining of agriculture and technology worker visas before discussing any legal status for illegal immigrants.” We have moved him to the “no” category.
We will continue to update the list as more members get in touch. Have an update? Please email mattfuller-at-rollcall.com.