Photo: Mark Mulligan, Houston Chronicle
WASHINGTON – Nearly three dozen House Republicans, including three from California, fired a warning to President Paul Ryan on Tuesday, saying they have enough votes to join with the Democrats to pass legislation to protect immigrant youth before the closing of Congress this year.
The 34 Republicans demanded that Ryan put legislation in the House of Representatives that would legalize approximately 800,000 dreamers, young immigrants illegally brought to the United States as children, who face deportation as of March 5 unless Congress acts .
Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, sometimes seemed to support the granting of legal status to Dreamers, but has not moved to advance bills that address the issue.
The objective is to obtain many new signatures to show the speaker that not only is something that we have to solve now, but something that will have bipartis. san support, "said Rep. Jeff Denham, Republican of Turlock, Stanislaus County, who for years has sponsored legislation to provide immigrant youth with a path to legal status.
Dreamers, approximately one-third of whom reside in California, they are now caught in a frenzy of tough negotiations over the federal budget and a large Republican tax bill, acting on the promise of President Obama that they would not be deported if they made themselves known to the federal immigration authorities, now they face a potential expulsion after President Trump revoked Deferred Action for child arrivals of the Obama administration, according to DACA, 5 and gave Congress six months – until March 5 – to devise a permanent solution. 19659019] If the 34 Republicans who signed the letter, including Denham, David Valadao of Hanford (Kings County) and Mimi Walters of Irvine (C Orange Wave), join the 193 current House Democrats who would have more than the 218 majority vote they would need to pass a bill.
The question is what legislation would include in a Congress dominated by Republicans. President Trump has insisted in the past that any agreement includes funds for a border wall, but that is not a start for the Democrats. And while Democrats are united in providing legal status for Dreamers, the Hispanic Caucus in Congress has rebelled against any notion of linking immigrant youth with greater border security or application of internal immigration, electronic border surveillance or similar measures.
During a visit to her district in September, hometown minority leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from San Francisco, was shouted by young immigrant protesters angry about her suggestion that border security would be part of a legislative solution for the Dreamers . "We are not a currency," they sang.
The incident followed a White House dinner on Chinese food, during which Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York said they had secured Trump's promise to provide Dreamers with protection, along with "A border security package, excluding the wall, is acceptable to both parties."
But both Valadao and Denham said some form of border security would have to be part of a bill.
"My problem is making sure we can convince members across the country that we have improved border security and that they can sell it to their districts," Denham said. "Each district is different, but I think border security has to be part of this."
Valadao said that both parties "are going to have to compromise". Some kind of border security will finally be a component of it. "He said Trump could help some hard-line immigration Republicans who privately acknowledge that the Dreamer's problem must be resolved.
" The president could play a role in that, "Valadao said," making the president supportive would help them move on to a yes. "
Trump has been a wild card in the debate, he has expressed support for Dreamers, but has breached the alleged deal with Pelosi and Schumer.
With the government looming since Friday, the Democrats have a huge influence, with only a 52-48 majority in the Senate, Republicans will need to reach the threshold of 60 votes required to pass. An expense bill may also need to find a way to attract Democratic votes in the House because some hard-line conservatives may refuse to vote for any draft bill. law that increases government spending.
Pelosi and Schumer have included protection for young immigrants among a series of problems they want as part of an expense deal. Among the items are the disaster aid that would cover the recent Wine Country fires, the financing of health insurance programs for children and the increase in national spending to match any increase that Republicans want for the military. Several Democrats, including California Senator Kamala Harris, have pledged to oppose a bill that does not grant legal status to immigrant youth.
In exchange for their affirmative vote on their massive tax review on Saturday, the Republican senators promised the senator. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Support for legislation to help immigrant youth, although they did not offer details or a timetable.
Some Republicans have argued that the issue of the dreamer can wait until the beginning of next year, because deportations will not begin until March 5. But the Democrats would then lose the influence they now have with an imminent government closure if they do not approve a Bill, and the election year policy would probably toughen positions on both sides.
Denham said that the main urgency is the uncertainty of many young people who are now in college or who have jobs under their protected temporary immigration status.
"There is so much disagreement among Republicans that it's hard to discover what their final game is," said Pelosi's second-in-command, whip Democrat Steny Hoyer of Maryland.
He said he had told the Republican leaders that they oppose including the Dreamer legislation in the spending bill, "Well … Put it on the independent floor, you'll get 300 votes." That's what I think it should be. happen. "
Carolyn Lochhead is the Washington correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org