The House Republican caucus has been stuck in an internal struggle over DACA and immigration for over a month, and a group of House GOP moderates tried to get a deal done with the Freedom Caucus that would prevent Dreamers from being deported. The moderates failed. Again.
The group of two-dozen Republicans from swing districts — who for weeks threatened to join with Democrats to codify the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Program — offered to include enhanced enforcement measures in legislation in order to secure an agreement. Conservatives are demanding added enforcement as part of any deal that includes pathway to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants who came here as children.
Both sides met to discuss the issue at a 5:30 p.m. meeting in Speaker Paul Ryan’s office. Moderates have threatened to sign onto a discharge petition to force votes on bipartisan immigration bills that conservatives strongly oppose if they don’t get an agreement.
“We have bill text,” Rep. Jeff Denham of California (pictured above), who led the discharge petition effort and represents a swing district in San Joaquin Valley, said as he walked into a meeting with conservatives. “I’m waiting to see if we all come together on it.”
They didn’t. Late tonight, Speaker Paul Ryan announced that they had averted the discharge petition. Instead, they’ll vote on two bills next week: a previously announced vote on a right-wing bill that would limit legal immigration sponsored by Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte, and a compromise bill that Ryan and both sides haven’t even finished putting together yet.
The discharge petition, which would have allowed GOP moderates and Democrats to bypass committee and bring a bill directly to the House floor, failed by two votes.
House conservatives reportedly mandated that any deal include an “E-verify” system and a more hardline asylum system, as if the one we have isn’t as ruthless enough as it is. According to Politico, some of the moderates are cool with tougher asylum standards but don’t want E-verify because the country needs day laborers to work on farms and in construction. How nice of them.
Last week, the Des Moines Register reported that a former DACA recipient named Manuel Antonio Cano Pacheco—a teenager who came to the United States from Mexico when he was 3 and then was forced to go back to a country he’s never known—had been murdered just three weeks after he was deported. It’s no stretch to say his blood is on the hands of Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, and Congress; without action as soon as possible, there’s going to be more like him.