DENVER - Colorado Republican Representatives Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner both voted Friday to maintain a measure created by President Barack Obama granting work permits to immigrants brought here illegally as kids.
The two Congressman - both seeking re-election in a state with a large Hispanic population - went against party leadership in the House.
The measure was a companion bill to legislation passed by the House late Friday to address the crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border by sending migrant youths back home without hearings.
The spending bill passed 223-189 late Friday, with only four Republicans voting "no" and one Democrat voting "yes." The measure ending Obama's deportation relief program passed 216-192, with Coffman and Gardner joining nine other Republicans in voting "no." Four Democrats crossed party lines to vote in favor of the bill.
In a statement released to the media Friday, Coffman urged both parties to work together on the immigration issue:
While I oppose unilateral action and executive overreach by the President, I am voting no because I think the Congress missed an opportunity to pass DACA into law. Kids who grew up here, know of no other country, and were brought here through no fault of their own, deserve our compassion and an opportunity to earn a path to citizenship. I urge both parties to work together and find a path down the middle to fix our broken immigration system.
Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff released the following statement:
We're glad to see Congressman Coffman follow Andrew Romanoff's lead. It's a shame that it took a strong opponent and a tough election to get the congressman to reverse his votes for the moment and suspend his attack on DACA. If Mr. Coffman means what he now says, we urge him to join Andrew in calling for urgent action to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)