GOP Rebellion on Immigration Bill Could Force House Vote

(Bloomberg) -- At least 17 House Republicans are bucking their party leaders to try and force a vote on immigration legislation that would break a deadlock over the fate of as many as 1.3 million young undocumented immigrants.

Carlos Curbelo, a Republican from a diverse district in South Florida, said he expects enough of his GOP colleagues to sign on to the effort. If at least 25 Republicans and all 193 Democrats get behind it, that would force House Speaker Paul Ryan to act. The group wants to hold votes on four different immigration proposals, including a bill favored by conservatives and one of Ryan’s choosing.

“No matter what your immigration priories are, this process that we have begun today and that we hope will conclude successfully, will give every member of the house the opportunity to advance his or her solution on this issue,” Curbelo said.

Congress has been unable to agree on how to respond to President Donald Trump’s decision last year to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allowed some people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to apply for protection from deportation. Trump gave Congress a deadline of March 5 to come up with a solution, but lawmakers couldn’t agree on legislation. The issue is now being litigated in federal courts.

There is some outside pressure for more Republicans to get on board. Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said he’ll push Republican leaders to let the effort go ahead.

“It is long past time to protect the Dreamers and secure our border,” Bradley said, using a popular term for the young immigrants. “Bipartisan solutions exist and our elected leaders need to pursue them. That is why we applaud those members who are adding their names to the ongoing effort to start legislative debate in the U.S. House.”

Curbelo said Ryan asked him not to move forward with this strategy, but didn’t make any threats to try to stop him.

Under House rules, the next date that representatives can vote on the legislation will be June 25. These are the four bills that would get a floor vote. The one that gets the most votes will go on to the Senate.

  • Securing America’s Future Act, H.R. 4760, a conservative bill backed by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia
  • The DREAM Act, H.R. 3440, a version of the bill backed by California Democrat Lucille Roybal-Allard that would give broader protection to young undocumented immigrants
  • An immigration bill of Ryan’s choice
  • The USA Act, H.R. 4796, a more narrow bipartisan measure proposed by Texas Republican Will Hurd

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