Coffman votes against GOP bill to deport undocumented immigrants

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Rep. Mike Coffman courting Latino voters last fall.

DENVER — House Republicans mounted a serious challenge to President Obama’s immigration policies on Wednesday, voting to roll back the president’s effort to shield many undocumented immigrants from deportation.

But the vote also exposed a rift within the House GOP caucus, as more than two dozen moderate Republicans, including Aurora Rep. Mike Coffman, voted against the legislation that was largely an effort to mollify conservative hard-liners angry over the president’s executive orders on immigration.

Coffman, who won reelection in a re-drawn, competitive district last fall after adjusting his position on immigration policy and working hard on outreach to immigrant communities, voted against the amendment that seeks to end the Deferred Action program and the final bill, which included the amendment.

“The President’s executive actions are clearly unconstitutional and I strongly oppose his unilateral decisions on immigration but my party needs to stop just saying what we are against and start saying what we are for when it comes to fixing our broken immigration system,” said Coffman in a statement.

“Under the DACA amendment that passed, young people who were taken to this country as children, who grew up here, went to school here, and often know of no other country but the United States, would not be allowed to renew their status and would face deportation. We should have had an opportunity to pass a version of the DACA program into law.  Moving forward, immigration reform should be about securing our borders, growing our economy and keeping families together and we need to do it all the constitutional way – through Congress.”

The legislation, given the unlikelihood of it breaking a Senate filibuster and the veto threat from the White House, is unlikely to become actual law.