House Republicans On Brink Of DACA Showdown, Putting Paul Ryan-Led Hardliners In Difficult Spot
Republican congressmen are on the verge of setting up a major showdown on immigration, something House Speaker Paul Ryan and his allies have been attempting to avoid.
GOP Congressmen Nearing DACA Showdown
Before the Memorial Day recess late last month, GOP moderates issued an ultimatum of sorts to hard-line conservatives: help pave the way for a bill that allows “Dreamers” — immigrant children who arrived to the U.S. at very young ages — to eventually become American citizens, or modertate Republicans will side with Democrats on a bipartisan immigration plan.
Lawmakers have been struggling to pass a comprehensive immigration plan, particularly since the Barack Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program expired on March 5. President Donald Trump and his closest allies in Congress have insisted than any immigration bill must include a provision that guarantees funding for the proposed southern border wall to curb immigration from Mexico.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and other officials from the nation have repeatedly said Mexico refuses to pay for the wall as Trump has demanded. Trump has claimed DACA is “dead,” and has pushed the idea of “chain migration,” which says migrants from a particular part of a country follow others from that region to enter into a new nation, through word of mouth or otherwise.
This all comes as the Justice Department — led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions — and the Department of Homeland Security have been forcibly separating illegal immigrants and their children, even in the cases of refugees who are seeking asylum. This policy has drawn outrage at the national level.
“Negotiations are ongoing, but … I do not believe that the American people elected Republicans to create any type of ‘special pathway’ to citizenship for the DACA individuals,” Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan, a Republican congressman from Ohio, told Politico. “So we’re trying to work around that. That to me is a real concern.”
Ryan and his leadership team have been trying to prevent GOP moderates from collecting the 218 signatures they need to obtain a so-called “discharge petition,” which is intended to hasten an immigration vote on the House floor.
In order to obtain U.S. citizenship, Dreamers are still currently required to marry a U.S. native or face being deported back to their homelands. They must then typically wait years to re-apply for citizenship.
According to Politico, Republicans have scheduled an immigration meeting for June 7, and have set that day as a preliminary deadline to obtain the 218 signatures needed for the discharge petition.