Pro-reform Dem travels to Va. districts to pressure GOP on immigration

A leading Democratic advocate for immigration reform is holding events in the Virginia districts of two House Republicans on Monday to build pressure on Republicans to bring up comprehensive immigration legislation when Congress returns in September.

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.) is holding events in the districts of Reps. Frank Wolf and Bob Goodlatte, the powerful chairman of the Judiciary Committee charged with leading the House Republican effort on immigration reform.

Gutiérrez is a member of a bipartisan group of seven House lawmakers who have crafted an immigration bill that includes a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. The Chicago Democrat has said he hopes to introduce the long-delayed proposal next month.

A spokesman for Gutiérrez said that he invited both Wolf and Goodlatte to hold joint town halls on Monday, but each Republican declined, citing scheduling conflicts.

Gutiérrez has traveled the country in recent months to build public support for immigration reform, and some of his events have been bipartisan, including a joint appearance with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) earlier this year.

Gutiérrez is a member of the Judiciary Committee and opposed the series of narrowly tailored immigration bills the panel approved earlier in the summer.