September 23, 2018

House GOP in last-ditch attempt on immigration

12 June 2018, 06:42 | Glen Norman

Bill Clark CQ-Roll Call Group

Bill Clark  CQ-Roll Call Group

Ryan has said the petition would hand control of the House floor over to Democrats.

Conservatives said later that no agreement has been reached, underscoring how elusive it has been for the GOP to resolve its long-running schism over the issue.

As it stands now, several moderate Republicans still considering the discharge petition have held off on signing it under the guise that leadership will be able to broker compromise immigration legislation between conservatives and moderates in the conference. A key part of this proposal is that it would be available to other immigrants beyond the Dreamers, in an effort to make it more palatable to conservatives opposed to a "special" path for the young immigrants to become citizens.

Proponents told us the change will bring more "moderate" voters into the mix and lead to a more "pragmatic, problem-solving" group of elected officials.

Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., who chairs the conservative Republican Study Committee and has been involved in smaller negotiations leading up to Thursday's meeting, said Thursday's session wasn't meant to finalize a deal but to "get everything on the table".

Denham is a sponsor of the Uniting and Securing America Act, USA Act for short, which charts an "earned" path to citizenship for Dreamers.

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"What we're all missing right now is seeing this written up in legislative text", he said.

Members of the Freedom Caucus distanced themselves from the moderates' assertions, though their descriptions varied. Another member of that group, Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., said the idea has been discussed but cautioned that there are "tons of moving pieces to it".

Meadows, however, said if Labrador is making offers, they are not on behalf of the Freedom Caucus. He said there is still some concern among his members that this program could still be interpreted as a "special pathway" to citizenship, which would make it hard to sell to conservatives.

"There's some loose consensus right now", said Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., a leader of centrists threatening to force votes if they can't strike a deal with conservatives.

Jeff Denham says details remain unclear.

"We have the votes to force a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives". "Now it's a matter of putting on paper and seeing if we actually have an agreement". On Thursday afternoon those two-dozen Republicans were nearing that magic number to partner with Democrats and force a vote for the Dreamers, using what is called a discharge petition. He says moderates are willing to accept provisions to strengthen border security, including the full $25 billion to build President Donald Trump's proposed wall with Mexico.

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These immigrants are at the heart of the push in Congress for legislation after Trump last September announced he was ending an Obama-era programme - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA - providing them with temporary protection from deportation.

I believe we will get those signatures tonight if the Republicans are unable to come up with an agreement, Sinema said Thursday on KTAR News 92.3 FM's Arizona's Morning News. Bob Corker in Tennessee, Trump framed Democrats as "MS-13 loving" fans of "open borders" and said he hopes the issue is at play throughout campaign season.

Ryan says seeking common ground among Republicans on a Trump-like plan is "the best chance at law". In addition, the conservatives want to end a lottery that grants visas to countries with few immigrants to the USA and curb the relatives who can be brought over by immigrants, Walker said. "If there are 40 percent Democrats and 25 percent Republicans, and in the election the Republicans took, what, 45 percent of the votes, that accounts for some of those 25 percent who decline to identify, but not all, so some of those must be Democrats too". Such a plan would seem to have no chance in the Senate, where Democrats have enough votes to block it.

But he said the starting point is the immigration principles laid out by Trump early this year: aggressive immigration security, including the construction of a wall along the Southwest border with Mexico, and a clamp-down on allowing family members overseas from joining relatives living legally in the United States. Walker said the more Dreamers given an opportunity for citizenship, the tighter curbs on family-based migration would be.

- Alan Fram and Lisa Mascaro, Associated Press; Andrew Taylor, Kevin Freking and Padmananda Rama contributed.

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