About Me

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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Acid Test for the GOP's Ability to Govern: Immigration Reform

Los Angeles Times (The Economy Hub Blog)
By Michael Hiltzik
October 28, 2013

You know a bill is in trouble in Congress when its opponents come up with increasingly infantile reasons for killing it. That's the coming fate of immigration reform in Washington. To hear House Republicans talk, it's worth killing because (a) passing it would give President Obama a victory when he's already had too many, (b) he's just using it to hurt the GOP, (c) it may or may not, but probably will, lead to "amnesty," and (d) Obama wants it to happen.

Yes, obviously a, b, and d are basically the same thing, but  the point is that a tolerably powerful cadre of House Republicans don't want immigration reform to happen. Although a major lobbying push for immigration reform by business leaders (Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Bloomberg, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) and religious and law enforcement groups is beginning this week, the talk on Capitol Hill is that reform is dead for this year.

The disarray among Congressional Republicans is visible. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who actually helped draft the Senate immigration compromise that is now before the House, has advised his House counterparts to reject it. A bill's sponsor lobbying for its defeat happens about as often as a disputed interference call ends a World Series game. Meanwhile Rep. Jeff Denham, who represents a heavily Hispanic district around Modesto, has made peace with his Democratic colleagues to push passage of the Senate bill.

In a sane political atmosphere, passing the Senate immigration bill would be a no-brainer on both sides of the aisle. The Congressional Budget Office says it would increase employment, boost capital investment, raise the relative wages of people now working in the underground economy, improve the productivity of labor and productivity. The bill would reduce the federal deficit, according to the CBO, by about $175 billion through 2023, and by another $700 billion from 2023 through 2033.

Among the more intriguing features of the partisan discussion is the feeling of some Republicans that there's no gain for them in promoting immigration reform. All the talk of Hispanic outreach after the 2012 election seems to have given way to a feeling that the GOP won't get the Hispanic vote no matter what, so why bother? Leaving aside the good that reform will do for the country as a whole, there's a big difference between topping out at, say, 27% of the Hispanic vote (Mitt Romney's share) and being mired at less than 10%, which is where they may end up if they kill the immigration bill.

It shouldn't be forgotten that the Senate bill itself is a compromise that made the prospect of citizenship a mirage for millions of undocumented immigrants already in the country. It would take at least 13 years to gain citizenship, and then only after paying thousands of dollars in fines and fees. In the meantime they would be ineligible for federal relief or healthcare subsidies. Immigration advocates gave up a lot to get even that far, but the House has demanded even stricter rules.

So immigration reform gives us a larger economy. More jobs. Better pay. Less abuse of workers without means of recourse. Lower federal deficits.

What's not to like? Oh, yes. it would give the Democrats a victory. It sounds like some people won't go for immigration reform under any circumstances. That's the new paradigm of governing in Washington: Just say no.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Business, Faith and Silicon Valley Leaders to Pepper House on Immigration

US News & World Report
By Lauren Fox
October 28, 2013

Conservative business leaders, evangelicals and tech giants will descend on Washington Tuesday to make yet another plea with the House of Representatives — pass immigration reform.

"This is a last ditch effort to get something done," says Brad Bailey, a restaurant owner in Texas and founder of Texas Immigration Solution, who is coming to Washington for the event. "We are further along [in immigration reform] than we have ever been in the past."

In the wake of a bitter debt ceiling and budget fight, many staffers on Capitol Hill privately acknowledge there is little incentive for the House to work with the Senate on immigration reform. The window of opportunity is slipping away and activists are worried.

Ali Noorani, an event organizer and the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, says that is why 600 people are expected to lobby Capitol Hill Tuesday. Representatives from Silicon Valley, law enforcement agents, chamber of commerce members and faith leaders will meet with 150 congressmen, many of whom are Republicans, in hopes of convincing members to bring legislation to the floor.

"We started to plan for this event about four weeks ago because we always anticipated that once the fiscal questions were addressed there would be a legislative window for immigration reform. Which is what we have now – a great opportunity to pass immigration reform in 2013," Noorani says. The event highlights what could become a major public schism within the Republican party. On the one hand, Republicans tend to be closely aligned with the business community, working alongside them in the past to push for lower corporate tax rates and fewer government regulations. But while business leaders need Congress to pass immigration reform in order to ensure they have greater access to the high and low skilled workers they need in their industries, many Republican lawmakers have an interest in keeping the status quo.

Many Republicans hail from conservative districts with low numbers of Latino voters and where sentiment toward immigrants who entered the country illegally is hostile. Getting out front of immigration reform could cost them their seat in a primary race.

One congressional analysis found 142 Republican-controlled congressional districts contain fewer than 10 percent Latino voters.

Rebecca Tallent, the Bipartisan Policy Center's director of immigration policy, says despite the major electoral advantages the Republican party might see nationally if it passed immigration reform, convincing House Republicans to get on board, is difficult.

"This debate doesn't matter in a lot of the local districts," Tallent says. "The House just isn't looking at national politics."

But Brent Wilkes, the executive director for the nonpartisan League of United Latin American Citizens, argues that Republicans in the House are going to need to pass immigration reform if they want any of their party's other goals to be realized.

"It doesn't do anything to just control the House. Republicans should be interested in trying to win national elections, win the Senate and the White House. That is the only way they can get rid of Obamacare," Wilkes says. "If they want to make progress on their own issues, they have to look past their own districts."

But even members of the Senate's "gang of eight" are losing resolve. These are the bipartisan senators who favor a comprehensive reform of the immigration system.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R- Fla., took a political gamble in pushing for comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate this spring but even he has acknowledged the political reality in the House — a comprehensive bill just doesn't stand a chance.

"We've been lectured for the better part of a month now how we need to be realistic, that Barack Obama was not going to repeal Obamacare," Rubio said in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times. "Likewise, I think supporters of immigration reform need to be realistic. The House is just not going to jump on board whatever the Senate passes."

Those Republicans in the House who have begun looking at immigration reform, have proceeded cautiously and slowly. Instead of bundling a host of smaller bills together in a comprehensive bill, the GOP is moving piece by piece from low-skilled worker visas to border security.

Bailey, who is coming all the way from Texas this week, argues that its time for the House to move just a little faster.

"I hope immigration gets a fair shot in the congressional calendar. Piecemeal is better than nothing at all. But I think addressing the broken immigration system that is hindering business and entrepreneurs across the country is a must," Bailey said.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

G.O.P. Urged to Act on Immigration by Coalition of Its Allies

New York Times
By Ashley Parker
October 29, 2013

WASHINGTON — For the business group from Utah, the lobbying blitz started well before their plane touched down in the nation’s capital.

Heading to Washington to spend Tuesday urging House Republicans to take up a broad immigration overhaul, the team of Utah business leaders buttonholed several members of their state’s congressional delegation — Republican Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, and Representatives Jim Matheson, a Democrat, and Chris Stewart, a Republican — as the lawmakers waited to board their flight Monday at the Salt Lake City airport.

“Our plea is to act now, do it now, lead,” Stan Lockhart, a former chairman of the Utah Republican Party, said in an interview Tuesday as he explained the group’s basic pitch. “Ask House leadership to lead and let’s pass what’s possible now.”

Randy Parker, chief executive of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, chimed in: “They need to act now. That’s the bottom line.”

Mr. Lockhart and Mr. Parker are part of an unlikely coalition of business executives, evangelical groups, and prominent conservatives coming together to urge House Republicans to put broad immigration legislation on the House floor, ideally before the end of this year.

On Tuesday, the group of more than 600 leaders from roughly 40 states descended on the Capitol for meetings with nearly 150 Republican lawmakers. They are largely taking aim at House Republicans who they think could support a broad immigration overhaul, including some sort of legal status for the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally. The leaders are urging the lawmakers to take a more proactive role in pushing immigration legislation to a House vote.

“Our fly-in today is about moving votes on the Hill in support of reasonable immigration reform,” Randel K. Johnson, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s senior vice president for immigration and labor issues, said in a conference call with reporters. “I’m confident we’re going to move the ball forward.”

The event’s sponsors include the Chamber of Commerce; FWD.us, a political action group founded by Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook; the National Immigration Forum; and the Partnership for a New American Economy, which is led by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, Rupert Murdoch and Bill Marriott Jr.

The effort kicked off in the morning with several panel discussions at the Chamber of Commerce, including one conversation in which the Bipartisan Policy Center, a nonprofit based in Washington, unveiled a new study that found a broad immigration overhaul would help grow the economy.

Advocates then boarded buses to the Capitol. Members of the group from Utah said that while they believed most of their House lawmakers were largely supportive of at least some form of an immigration overhaul, their goal was to persuade them to get out in front on the issue.

“It’s one thing to be with us,” said Todd Bingham, president of the Utah Manufacturers Association. “It’s another to lead out and actually create dialogue and create discussion and tell leadership in the House that we’re not interested in waiting two years — we need to address this now.”

The push comes as conflicting messages continue to emerge from the immigration debate on Capitol Hill.

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida and an author of the Senate-passed immigration bill that includes a path to citizens for those immigrants already in the country illegally, seemed to backpedal slightly on Saturday. His spokesman told Breitbart News, a conservative news outlet, that House conservatives should not fall for a “ruse” that could lead to one of their more narrow, piecemeal immigration bills being used as vehicle to enter a conference negotiation between the House and the Senate, from which a broader immigration bill could emerge.

“On the surface, the statement didn’t read well,” said Alberto R. Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union, when asked about Mr. Rubio’s comments. “But maybe a good explanation from him will be persuasive, so I’m going to hold judgment.”

Alex Conant, a spokesman for Mr. Rubio, said that the senator was not backing away from his support for the Senate bill, but simply reflecting the political reality in the Republican-controlled House, where many conservatives refuse to support any immigration bill because they fear it could be used as a “Trojan horse” and lead to amnesty.

“An ‘all or nothing’ strategy on immigration reform would result in nothing,” Mr. Conant said in a statement. “What is keeping us from progress on a series of immigration issues on which there is strong consensus is the fear that a conference committee on a limited bill will be used to negotiate a comprehensive one. We should take that option off the table so that we can begin to move on the things we agree on.”

Meanwhile, the group of business leaders from Utah remained intensely focused on their congressional delegation. Though they had scheduled meetings with only the four Utah House members, they were hoping to see Mr. Lee, their senator, who won election in 2010 with strong Tea Party support and has remained hesitant to support an immigration overhaul that he considers “amnesty.”

At roughly 11 a.m., good news arrived in the form of a text message: Mr. Lee would meet with them.

“Whatever is causing this issue to be stopped — whether it’s compromise, whether it’s breaking it into pieces — whatever is happening that’s blocking him from taking up a banner and being a leader on this, we want him to get over the barriers,” said Donna Milakovic, the executive vice president of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Pelosi: Votes Are There to Pass Immigration Reform

Washington Times
By Jacqueline Klimas
October 29, 2013

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday there is a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives ready to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill, but she may never get the chance to prove it if GOP Speaker John A. Boehner doesn’t bring a vote in the Republican-lead House.

“With 28 Republicans having publicly expressed support for a path to citizenship, we believe the votes are there on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill,” she wrote on Facebook. “It’s just a question whether Speaker Boehner can muster the will to schedule a vote.”

Ms. Pelosi, California Democrat, held a question-and-answer session about immigration on her Facebook page Tuesday afternoon. Though she got more than 600 posts from users on topics ranging from Obamacare to Hillary Clinton’s possible presidential run in 2016 to whether or not Democrats will take back control of the House next year, she responded to fewer than 10 of them and focused on the planned topic of immigration.

Some posters shared their own stories of how the country’s immigration laws have hurt them, especially the year-long wait for illegal immigrants to move to the U.S. to be with their spouses and children.

“This is a perfect example of why we need comprehensive immigration reform. One of the key goals of our bipartisan bill is to reunite families. We do this by including provisions that reduce family visa backlogs,” Ms. Pelosi wrote.

Others talked specifically about how the proposed bill would help young adults who moved to America as children, called “Dreamers.”

Many asked what Ms. Pelosi’s plan is to move the bill forward, despite the fact that many Republicans do not support immigration reform.

“We cannot afford to waste the opportunity that we have right now,” she responded. “There are Republicans who support this effort, we must make sure their voices are heard. The time for excuses is over — it’s time to pass this bill and get the job done for the American people.”

While many wrote in simply to express their support of the former speaker, her critics also came out in full force with comments like “Why are you so dead-set on trying to destroy this country?” and “As you are a disgrace to our country, when will you resign?”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Second House Republican Signs On to Democratic Immigration Plan

Washington Post
By Ed O'Keefe
October 29, 2013

Another House Republican has signed on to a Democratic-backed immigration reform plan.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) signed on as a co-sponsor to the proposal Tuesday morning. Her support comes after Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) signed on as a co-sponsor over the weekend.

"I know that some in the press have said immigration reform is dead, and I wanted to show a proof of life," Ros-Lehtinen told reporters Tuesday. "We're just trying to fix a broken system, and it's important to keep the discussions going."

Both GOP lawmakers represent districts with sizable Latino voting populations, especially Ros-Lehtinen who represents a part of the Miami area.

Denham told reporters that he received a good reception when he discussed the bill with colleagues at the weekly House Republican conference meeting Tuesday morning. He said the hope is to encourage more GOP members sign on in order to present party leaders with proof that that issue merits further consideration.

"I'm hopeful that more members will sign in by the end of the week," he said. "But this is one of those situations where people are just starting to look at the bill, so we've got some work ahead of us."

The Democratic measure mirrors a comprehensive Senate immigration bill passed over the summer, and includes a bipartisan border security bill passed unanimously by the House Homeland Security committee in May.

House Republican leaders continue to say they will not take up immigration reform before resolving the host of fiscal and budgetary concerns facing Congress. But Ros-Lehtinen's support likely will embolden the White House and immigration advocates still pushing for consideration of the issue.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Fleeting Hopes for Immigration Reform

Arizona Republic
By Dan Nowicki and Erin Kelly
October 29, 2013

Lawmakers have come under an unprecedented wave of lobbying from immigration-reform supporters on the right and left in recent days, keeping hopes for the legislation alive in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

A small legion of pro- reform business, religious and law-enforcement leaders have converged on Capitol Hill this week to press lawmakers for action, and a comprehensive Democratic bill won its first GOP supporters.

At the same time, immigrant advocates also are visiting congressional offices and holding prayer vigils outside lawmakers’ residences, as happened last week at the Peoria home of U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz.

The developments come as time runs short on supporters’ goal of action on immigration reform before the end of the year. The prognosis for bipartisan cooperation is grim if work on the issue slides into 2014, a congressional midterm-election year.

Reform supporters are keeping their optimism in check. Feelings in Washington are still raw following the standoff between House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and his House GOP caucus and President Barack Obama over the federal government shutdown and debt ceiling. And many Republicans are not in the mood to hand the president a victory on the top domestic priority of his second term.

A number of hard-line House Republicans, estimated at 20 to 40 members of Boehner’s GOP conference, have made it clear that they have no interest in voting for what they consider to be “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants.

However, reform backers point to encouraging signs in addition to the intense push by the business lobby.

Key House Republicans, including Reps. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida and Darrell Issa of California, reportedly are working on proposals to address the status of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants who already have settled in the United States, which is the central issue for Democrats and immigration activists.

The Democrat-controlled Senate on June 27 passed a sweeping reform bill that included a 13-year pathway to citizenship for immigrants who pass background checks, pay assessed taxes and fines and take other steps to get right with the law, as well as a massive investment in border security.

There are indications that some Republicans are becoming impatient with the House inaction on piecemeal bills that have been talked about since the Senate bill passed. Two House Republicans — Reps. Jeff Denham of California and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida — have become the first two GOP lawmakers to sign onto a comprehensive immigration bill offered by House Democrats.

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., last week said in a written statement that the growing possibility that the House might punt on immigration reform in 2013 reflects “the leadership vacuum in Washington that rightly has so many people frustrated with this dysfunctional Congress.”

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a former 12-year House member who helped negotiate the Senate bill, said Monday on Twitter that momentum appears to be building in the House. “That’s good news for Arizona, and the country,” he said in the message.

For their part, Boehner and his fellow House Republican leaders have not yet publicly declared immigration reform dead, which even the most pessimistic reform supporters say means there is still a chance the House could act in November or early December.

House committees so far have approved five bills, including legislation to strengthen border security and require employers to use a federal database to ensure they are hiring people who are legally eligible to work in the United States.

“The speaker said last week, ‘I still think immigration reform is an important subject that needs to be addressed. And I’m hopeful,’ ” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told The Arizona Republic on Tuesday via e-mail. “He added that he supports a step-by-step immigration process.”

Businesses speak out

Hoping to make sure immigration reform gets on the House’s 2013 agenda, more than 600 business, law-enforcement, religious and political leaders from Arizona and nearly 40 other states flooded Capitol Hill on Tuesday. The fly-in was organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other groups, including FWD.us, which was founded by leaders of high-tech companies.

The activists, mostly self-described conservatives, met with more than 100 members of Congress to urge them to take action on broad legislation that includes a way for most undocumented immigrants in the U.S. to earn citizenship.

“In every corner of the Capitol, the energy these farmers, tech leaders, police chiefs and pastors brought to the Hill was palpable,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “They brought a new perspective to the debate, one informed by what they see every day in their local businesses, churches and police stations — a broken system that has a negative impact on local communities nationwide.”

Peoria Vice Mayor Tony Rivero is a conservative Republican who urged Arizona’s GOP congressmen to support reform this year. His city needs more farmworkers who are legally authorized to work, and it needs its undocumented residents to come out of the shadows, he said.

“My message to our congressional delegation is that, as a constituent and a conservative Republican, I support a solution to this problem,” Rivero said. “We need to secure the border, identify the people who are here illegally and put them on a path to legality and put enforcement measures in place to make sure we aren’t here again in 10 years.”

Former Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris said he told members of Arizona’s congressional delegation that the current immigration system makes police officers’ jobs more complicated.

“Every community is trying to solve the problem in a different way,” he said. “In some places, you (an undocumented immigrant) can get a driver’s license. In some places, you can’t. Some places are very liberal and report almost no crimes (committed by undocumented immigrants). Others deport you for just minor infractions. There’s great confusion among the law-enforcement community about what the rules are and what their authority is.”

‘I do care about them’

The conservative lobbying efforts are in conjunction with efforts from more liberal immigration-advocacy groups.

Last week, a contingent of 44 undocumented immigrants and their supporters traveled from Phoenix by bus to Washington, D.C., and Ohio in hope of meeting with Boehner to persuade him to schedule a vote on a bill that includes a pathway to citizenship. The group, which included many “dreamers,” or undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, never got the opportunity to talk with Boehner.

However, the immigration activists from the advocacy group Promise Arizona who camped outside Franks’ house did get the chance to talk with the representative for more than 25 minutes.

They initially were buoyed by his response, which they interpreted as support for a pathway to citizenship. However, Franks later clarified to The Republic that he would not support a special pathway to citizenship. Franks said he would support legalizing undocumented immigrants under certain conditions but would not allow them to subsequently seek citizenship. Or the undocumented immigrants could return to their home countries and apply for green cards and citizenship that way, he said.

Franks said he didn’t fully articulate his position to the activists because he felt compassion for their pleas. “Sometimes, in any situation, you don’t hit people in the face with the worst of it,” Franks said. “I wanted them to know, while maybe we didn’t agree on everything, there were some things we do agree on. I do care about them.”

Proponents are positive

Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the group of Arizonans that flew in as part of the U.S. Chamber-led D.C. visit were going to meet with all nine House members from Arizona. After morning meetings with Republican Reps. Paul Gosar, Matt Salmon and David Schweikert, Hamer said the sessions were positive.

“There is complete agreement that we have a busted immigration system,” he said. “It’s fair to say that there is an understanding that we need immigration reform. It’s very clear that the House is going to pass its vision for immigration reform. If it’s simply the Senate bill or bust, then nothing will happen.”

Flake said he believes the methodical and strategic lobbying by the business community, faith groups and activist organizations will help motivate the House. He said he is OK with House Republicans taking a step-by-step strategy rather than passing a comprehensive bill like the one he helped craft in the Senate.

“My position is, if you can move it piecemeal or sequentially, that’s fine,” Flake said. “If you have to go comprehensive, that’s fine. Let’s get something to the president’s desk.”

Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-reform organization America’s Voice, said the two House Republicans who signed on to the alternative Democratic bill also are examples of momentum.

“When that bill was first introduced, it was widely panned as a Democratic ‘message bill’ that was going nowhere and was setting up the blame game in a run toward 2014,” Sharry said. “But because Democrats made the smart move of making sure every policy in the bill was passed with bipartisan support either in the Senate or the House, it has become a serious offering and a place where Republicans can go. I think you will see more Republicans getting on board.”

Because of Boehner’s leadership style and uneasy relationship with many of his rank-and-file members, Sharry said, it may take “a convergence and emergence of a critical mass of Republicans to convince leadership to go forward.”

Hamer said he believes there is still a possibility for compromise between the House and Senate.

“I don’t want to be too Pollyannaish,” he said. “Passing immigration reform is not like renaming a post office. It’s going to be tough.”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Monday, October 28, 2013

Republican Congressman Jeff Denham Will Join Democrats in Immigration Overhaul Push

Washington Post
By Peter Wallsten
October 26, 2013

A Republican congressman from a heavily Hispanic district is breaking ranks from his party to join Democrats in an eleventh-hour push for a broad immigration overhaul before the end of the year.

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) plans to sign on as the lone GOP member with 185 Democrats to co-sponsor a plan that would give millions of unauthorized immigrants the chance to attain citizenship.

A handful of House Republicans have expressed support for citizenship legislation similar to the bipartisan bill that passed the Senate over the summer. But Denham is taking the additional — and politically provocative — step of locking arms with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and other Democrats trying to neutralize opposition from House conservatives and shake up a polarized immigration debate.

“I’m the first Republican,” he said in an interview. “I expect more to come on board.”

With fewer than 20 working days left in the current session and Congress focused largely on high-stakes budget negotiations, some House Republicans have argued in recent days that they won’t have time to debate immigration this year. Asked in a Bloomberg TV interview over the weekend if a broad immigration overhaul stood a chance of passing in the coming weeks, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said flatly, “No.”

Denham’s announcement comes as Democrats and immigrant advocates are trying to force House Speaker John A. Boehner’s (R-Ohio) hand on the issue. Key to their strategy is a new compromise bill designed to lure away enough centrist GOP members that the speaker would feel compelled to allow a vote of the full chamber — just as he did to end the government shutdown and avoid a financial default.

If Boehner were to refuse to allow a vote, Democrats say they could blame him and Republicans for blocking a “bipartisan” bill on the campaign trail next year .

The measure adopts most of the bipartisan Senate legislation, but it adds in a House GOP-backed border security bill written by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) that won unanimous, bipartisan approval last May in the House Homeland Security Committee.

That language, which would direct the government to achieve a 90 percent apprehension rate of illegal border crossers, would replace controversial language added to the Senate bill at the last minute that would add 700 hundred of miles of fence and 20,000 agents along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We put forward a bill that we figured Republicans could sign onto,” said Rep. Joe Garcia (D-Fla.), a chief sponsor of the new House legislation.

Garcia said Boehner and the GOP House leadership now face a decision on whether to once again allow the full chamber to vote on a bill that could pass with a majority of Democrats and a minority of Republicans.

“There is a way forward,” Garcia said. Previewing the line of attack that awaits Republicans if nothing happens, Garcia added: “The Democrats have put it up. The Republicans have decided to kill immigration reform.”

Ali Noorani, head of the National Immigration Forum, described Denham’s announcement as a major development. He said the new House bill was a “good-faith effort by the Democrats and not a political grenade.” But, Noorani added, advocates remain far from attracting the support they need to make the measure more than merely symbolic.

“We need votes,” Noorani said. “Until it gets to that magic 218 number, it’s a message bill.”

Immigration advocates are hoping to add further pressure on House conservatives in the coming days by bringing as many as 600 pastors, business owners and law enforcement officials representing dozens of key congressional districts to Capitol Hill for lobbying meetings.

Advocates are circulating a list of 28 target House Republicans who have expressed support in the past for an immigration overhaul, some of whose districts include a large number of Hispanic voters.

Like many Republicans, Boehner and other House leaders voiced support for immigration legislation in the wake of the 2012 presidential election in which Hispanic voters overwhelmingly rejected the GOP. Growing concerns about the party’s future viability with Hispanics spurred Senate Republicans to the negotiating table to craft a broad citizenship bill.

But House conservatives, many of whom represent districts with few Hispanic voters, have been reluctant — instead backing a series of smaller measures, to boost border security or add foreign worker visas for high-tech firms and the agriculture industry.

A spokesman for Boehner, Brendan Buck, last week underscored the speaker’s support for changing the immigration system with a “deliberate approach.”

“The House will not consider any massive, Obamacare-style legislation that no one understands,” Buck said. “Instead, the House is committed to a common sense, step-by-step approach that gives Americans confidence that reform is done the right way.”

The issue has spurred emotional internal debates among House Republicans about whether to support a citizenship plan or perhaps some sort of legalization for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country that would stop short of citizenship.

Hispanic population growth in some Republican districts has led some in the House GOP caucus to argue in favor of citizenship. Business groups have also urged support.

Denham faces a Democratic challenge next year. His district, which covers a heavily agricultural area of California’s central valley, is competitive, with a population that is more than 40 percent Hispanic. Sonia, his wife of 20 years, is Hispanic. Denham said he learned Spanish to communicate with her family, including to help his Mexican father-in-law through the process of gaining U.S. citizenship.

He and his family “have been talking about immigration for over a decade now,” he said.

The congressman is announcing his sponsorship of the immigration bill in an interview on the Spanish-language channel Univision’s popular “Al Punto” program, set to air Sunday. Denham spoke in Spanish with anchor Jorge Ramos for much of the conversation, which was taped late last week.

Denham, in an interview with The Washington Post, said he agreed to sign onto the Democrats’ legislation after they agreed to include a provision that would put certain young unauthorized immigrants who serve in the military on a path to citizenship.

Denham said the military measure and the border provisions should address most concerns that have been expressed by his GOP colleagues. The bill, he said, is “far different than anything we’ve seen in the past.”

As for whether his party leadership would let votes happen on any immigration proposals, Denham said he expects the House will get the chance to address the issue in some fashion. “They’ve told me that we’re going to have this [issue] on the floor by the end of the year.”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com