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Could There Be A Critical Mass Of GOP Support For Immigration Reform?

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) has told the Washington Post that he believes there are 40 to 50 Republican votes in the House in support of comprehensive immigration reform. The Illinois congressman says Republicans who support reform are keeping a low profile to avoid criticism from conservatives.

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) told a Washington radio station that Congress needs to build a solution people currently living in the United States without documentation.

It’s estimated there are 11 million undocumented residents already in the United States.

According to the pro-immigration group America’s Voice, Reichert is the 22nd Republican to publicly support citizenship.

Earlier this week Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) endorsed comprehensive reform during a a panel discussion in Las Vegas. He called the senate plan that includes a path to citizenship “reasonable.” Heck says discussions about immigration reform often focus on undocumented workers, but he says there are many more issues that need to be included and addressed.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, “Heck acknowledges there is no guarantee a House bill will emerge that takes on the thorny issue of citizenship.”

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a member of the house leadership says there are 200 Democratic votes for reform. Other estimates say there could be slightly fewer votes.

Supporters of immigration reform like Gutierrez and Van Hollen think there are enough, but unless House Speaker John Boehner brings the issue to the floor there won’t be a vote.

The Washington Post reports House Democratic leaders are trying to determine if they should try to bypass the Speaker with what is called a “discharge petition.” If the petition is signed by a majority of the house members the immigration bill would be brought to the floor.

The Post says the decision to proceed will be up to minority leader, Nancy Pelosi.

Meanwhile when House members return to work in September they will continue moving forward with a piecemeal approach to immigration reform.

KJZZ’s News Director Al Macias is part of an elite class of trusted, veteran journalists who have covered Arizona news for more than 30 years.Macias helps oversee daily operations for the KJZZ newsroom and Fronteras: the Changing America Desk. This is second nature for Macias, who is a National Association of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle Society member and an inductee of the Society of Professional Journalists Order of the Silver Key Society.Macias began serving the KJZZ news team in October 2010, helping the station launch Fronteras: The Changing America Desk as the project's managing editor. He became the news director in January 2015. Macias, who has an extensive television background, is helping Fronteras Desk reporters disseminate reports using a multimedia platform that includes radio, web, video and social media tools to engage listeners across the globe.He also is no stranger to building a news team from the ground up. Macias was part of the management team that launched the KNXV newsroom in 1994 and oversaw its growth from a staff of twenty to more than sixty in less than a year. Additionally, he served in managerial roles at KPNX from 1981-1994 and as an assignment editor and manager for KTVK.During his television career, Macias won two Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards for spot news coverage and public service programming.Macias takes great pride in his public service work, as well. He is a founding board member of the Arizona Latino Media Association and is part of the Raul H. Castro Institute Advisory Committee. In addition, he served Maricopa County’s communications department and spent time as a Partnership Specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau.A Phoenix native, Macias earned a journalism degree from Arizona State University. He has been married since 1978 and has two adult daughters.