New Hope For DACA!

House Republicans are toying with the lives of nearly 800,000 of our neighbors, friends, students and fellow employees. The DACA saga began when President Trump abruptly ended the program officially known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Trump claimed at the time that he wanted Congress to create a process to provide a permanent legal status for the DACA immigrants. Since then neither Trump nor the Republican leadership in Congress have been willing to address the issue. Instead they have put the lives of these law abiding students and young adults in limbo. With the 2018 elections on the horizon a handful of Republicans are getting nervous and that gives the DACA kids - and us - one more chance.

This farce is a story of leadership or more accurately, a story of the complete failure of the Republican House leaders to do the people’s business. Only the courts have kept the promise of DACA alive by extending the re-enrollment deadline and, potentially, allowing youth eligible for the program but not yet registered to sign up. 

DACA is a divisive issue in the Republican Party. Rather than lead, Speaker Paul Ryan has simply refused to bring a bill to the House floor for debate. President Trump, on the other hand, has blown hot and cold on whether he will agree to any deal - first making a show of agreeing to a deal with Democrats and then demanding new and impossible concessions on unrelated issues.

As a general rule, the leadership of the House’s majority party gets to decide which legislation comes up for discussion or a vote. Speaker Ryan and his allies have done all they can to stay clear of immigration issues that divide the Republicans and might anger Trump’s hard line base voters. Surprisingly, last week anti-immigrant Republicans joined with moderate pro-DACA Republicans and all the House Democrats to kill the important omnibus farm bill, in large part, over the inaction on DACA. The issue can’t be ignored forever. 

Defying Ryan, a group of moderate GOP legislators (most running for re-election in heavily Latino districts) are asking for 218 members of the House to sign a “discharge petition” and force the leadership to act on immigration.If 25 Republicans and all Democrats sign this discharge petition, under House rules Ryan must bring 4 separate immigration bills to the floor for debate and vote. With the pressure of the upcoming election this is our best chance for a legislative solution to DACA.

The current discharge petition would force a House vote on four different immigration proposals. Specifically, the full House would debate the Securing America’s Future Act (H.R.4760), the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017 (H.R.3440), the bipartisan USA Act of 2018 (H.R.4796), and an immigration bill of Speaker Paul Ryan’s choosing. In the vote on the four proposals, the amendment receiving the highest number of votes exceeding 218 would be adopted by the House under the “queen-of-the-hill” rule.

We will provide details on each of these bills if the discharge petition succeeds. Our general position is to oppose any options that trade DACA protection for other anti-immigrant legislation. Right now we need to make sure that the discharge petition succeeds in forcing the House to debate these proposals.

Call To Action

Call your Democratic AND Republican legislators and tell them to sign the petition.  Let your representative know you will be holding them accountable in your district and that you expect them to do the job they have been elected to do. Demand a vote on immigration that grants citizenship to the Dreamers and does not punish other immigrant groups.