Some California Republican lawmakers back immigration reform

4:52 PM, Jan 31, 2013   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - What may indicate the tide is turning, four Republican state lawmakers joined Democrats in supporting a resolution urging the federal government to pass immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship for the millions in the United States illegally.

"For me, this is about policy, not politics. This is about righting a wrong," Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, said."First of all, I represent the 12th Senate District, not the Republican Party. I do what's best for my district. This is going to happen. If anyone wants to get in the way, they're going to be steamrolled over."

Cannella also announced is he's co-authoring a Democratic bill to  allow undocumented immigrants to apply for drivers licenses.

The announcement comes as a surprise from members whose party is known for being tough on illegal immigrants.

In California's gubernatorial primary, the GOP didn't want to talk about a pathway to citizenship. In the Presidential election, Mitt Romney pushed self-deportation. But with a dismal 29 percent of California voters registered as Republicans and very few GOP members holding Legislative office, some said they had to change.

"Is it time for the Republicans? I think it's time for a lot of folks to finally wake up and see what's going on. My hope is that there are no other excuses," Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, said.

Some Republicans, though, said people shouldn't be surprised they're embracing immigration reform considering it aligns well with their beliefs, which is often overshadowed by inflammatory rhetoric.

"In many ways, it fits into the core principals of the Republican party: opportunity, prosperity, entrepreneurialism, and hard work," Asm. Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, said.

The GOP is also facing the reality that the Latino population in California is on track to surpass the Caucasian population early next year.

"The Republicans, they definitely know they need us next election, so, this is the year; the time is now," said Diana Colin, who was brought to the US illegally as a child, but is now married to a citizen.

By Nannette Miranda, ABC7

ABC7/KGO

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