(ESPAÑOL) A small group of Republicans defied their leaders in an attempt to force bipartisan action on DACA legislation.
The rare move, by lawmakers who largely represent districts with significant Hispanic populations or are supportive of pro-immigration business interests, could potentially break a congressional stalemate on immigration.
It could trigger a House debate in June or July on four bills designed to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has protected some 800,000 people brought illegally to the United States as children, mainly from Mexico and Central America.
President Donald Trump wants DACA to end and has moved to clamp down on both illegal and legal immigration. The issue is already prominent in some November congressional election campaigns.
The Republican rebels include moderates and lawmakers whose districts have big Hispanic populations, such as Carlos Curbelo of Florida, Will Hurd of Texas and Mike Coffman of Colorado. Several face tough re-election bids.
The Republican rebels are attempting to get a majority of House members to sign a petition that would force debate and votes on four DACA replacement bills. The one getting the most votes and at least a majority of the House would go to the Senate.
Republican Representative Jeff Denham, a leader of the new effort, told reporters he and other rebels would prevail. The number of Republicans involved so far totals 17 of 236 House Republicans. Assuming all 193 House Democrats sign on, Denham would need another eight Republicans to advance legislation.
House Speaker Paul Ryan has expressed support for doing some sort of “DACA fix” but has refused to stage votes on any bill.
Among the measures that could be debated is one that would protect Dreamers, while adding border security measures, although not the southwest border wall Trump demands.
Another would protect Dreamers from deportation and put them on a path to citizenship. A third would provide some protections, but would reduce legal immigration. A fourth bill would be one of Ryan’s choosing.