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Central Valley Republicans join Democrats to sponsor Dream Act

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) (Douglas Graham / Roll Call)
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) (Douglas Graham / Roll Call)

Central Valley Reps. Jeff Denham and David Valadao have signed on as co-sponsors of legislation to grant legal status to hundreds of thousands of people brought to the country illegally as children.

Democrats are pushing for a quick vote on the bill, known as the Dream Act, after President Trump announced earlier this month he will end the Obama administration's Deferred Act for Childhood Arrivals program within six months.

Denham of Turlock and Valadao of Hanford joined two other Republicans who are co-sponsoring the bill, along with nearly 200 Democrats.

"Congress can provide a legislative solution so these individuals may continue to live in America — the only home they know," Valadao said in a statement.

Denham and Valadao represent districts with large Latino populations and are among the Republicans that Democrats want to oust from office in 2018 as they attempt to win back control of the House. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee issued a statement Wednesday morning criticizing the Republicans for not yet co-sponsoring the bill. After the news broke that they would, DCCC spokesman Andrew Godinich said they still need to convince fellow Republicans to support it.

Denham and Valadao urged Trump not to end the program, and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to allow a vote on legal status for the so-called Dreamers.

Denham posted a public service announcement on his website this week urging Dreamers concerned about being deported to contact his Modesto office. His staff said they are working to get Central Valley radio stations to run it.

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