Colorado State Sen. Greg Brophy has kept quiet as he’s voted against in-state tuition in recent years. He’s been thinking of the high school students he meets in his rural district who are bright, ambitious and here without authorization. Now he supports the bill.
‘‘It tugs at your heart,’’ Brophy said. ‘‘I'm positive I'm not alone in it, given the emails I've gotten.’’
Immigration advocates are heartened.
‘‘There’s a sea change that’s happening in our politics,’’ Bennet, one of the senators who worked on the latest bipartisan immigration proposal, told backers in Denver last week. ‘‘This was an issue that was litigated during this presidential campaign. Republicans and Democrats alike believe that big numbers of people in this country want to get this finished.’’
But it’s unclear whether that will translate into enough Republicans supporting a pathway to citizenship. Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner who is seen as one of the state’s few GOP stars, spoke forcefully after the election about the need to appeal more to minorities. ‘‘The tone is catching up to where Republicans have been for the last couple of years,’’ Gardner said in an interview. But he, too, still balks at the idea of citizenship.
He said Congress must first secure the border before discussing citizenship. ‘‘If you address that first, we can have a conversation down the road.’’
Brophy said many Republicans are honestly wrestling with a difficult personal issue. He noted that one newly elected state senator who voted for the in-state tuition bill in committee last week has already been targeted for a possible primary challenge.