U.S. Rep. Tony CardenasWASHINGTON, D.C. /California Newswire/ — U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley) today applauded Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for her courageous vote last night to encourage debate on Comprehensive Immigration Reform on the floor of the U.S. House.

Monday night, the House Rules Committee held a hearing to decide which amendments to the Paul Ryan budget would be approved for debate on the House floor. Debate will be held later this week. As he did last week, Cárdenas offered an amendment to create the economic infrastructure for the legislation present in H.R. 15, the only Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill before the House.

The right to simply debate the amendment on the House floor was denied by the Rules Committee by a final vote of 8-4. Ros-Lehtinen was the sole Republican vote in favor of a simple debate and majority rules vote. The vote in the House would not have approved H.R. 15 or immigration reform. It would have only inserted the amendment into the Ryan budget, which would have then been voted on by the full House.

“We need a debate on comprehensive immigration reform and, given the $900 billion in savings and 120,000 jobs a year immigration reform will bring, there is no better place to start this debate than with the budget,” said Cárdenas. “Rep. Ros-Lehtinen should be applauded for doing the right thing in the Rules Committee to encourage that debate.

“We need more Republicans open to debate. Unfortunately, Republican leadership fears that debate because they know a fair, open and honest debate in the harsh light of day would show the amazing economic benefits that immigration reform will bring. So, rather than having a discussion in front of the American people, Republican leadership is working behind closed doors, ignoring the will of the House and of the American people. The are keeping 11 million people in the shadows and keeping immigration reform from coming to a vote.”

Including last week’s Budget Committee hearing, 31 Republicans have had the opportunity to debate and vote on moving some aspect of Comprehensive Immigration Reform to the House floor for a full debate. Of those, 30 have voted against the economic interests of the United States, casting “no” votes.

Last month, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that Comprehensive Immigration Reform would provide $900 billion in deficit savings for the United States.