Immigration advocates are swarming the country this month, trying to persuade House Republicans to pass a comprehensive overhaul. It was hard to tell at the town-hall meeting that second-term Republican Rep. Andy Harris held recently in this town northeast of Baltimore.
The overflow crowd in the board of commissioners meeting room was overwhelmingly white and older, and booed loudly when one audience member asked Harris to support a path to citizenship for immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.
Loud applause followed as Harris shot the idea down, calling it "a nonstarter" that's "not going anywhere fast" in the House.
"The bottom line is there are plenty of immigration laws on the books," Harris said. "The House is in no rush to take up immigration."
Harris, a 56-year-old physician and the son of Eastern European immigrants, is in a safe GOP district with few Latino voters, and he's not on target lists drawn up by immigration proponents. So it's no surprise that advocates wouldn't be out in force at his events.
Yet his position is far from unique.
For all the effort that business and labor groups, activists and others who support action on immigration say they're pouring into making themselves heard during Congress' five-week summer recess, there are scores of House Republicans who are hearing very little of the clamor.
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