DACA advocates see efforts gaining steam in the House

DACA advocates see efforts gaining steam in the House
© Greg Nash
Immigration advocates are increasingly optimistic that a deal can be reached in the House before year's end to provide permanent protections for young immigrants brought to the country illegally.
 
Both Democrats and Republicans point to a flurry of working groups and bipartisan discussions on a replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as signs that a majority of House members want to see legislation on the floor and would vote for it.
 
A group of a few dozen Republicans, led by Rep. Scott TaylorScott William Taylor34 House Republicans demand DACA action this year DACA advocates see efforts gaining steam in the House GOP rep: ATF should re-evaluate bump stocks MORE (R-Va.), is preparing a letter asking Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.) for a DACA fix before year's end, according to Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chairwoman Rep. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamDACA advocates see efforts gaining steam in the House By rejecting GOP congressman, Hispanic Caucus rejects civility Hispanic Caucus rejects Republican's request to join MORE (D-N.M.).
 
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Taylor's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
 
Lujan Grisham said the CHC, which Democrats use to spearhead immigration efforts, is increasingly working with Republican lawmakers on finding a DACA fix. She credited the group's whip, Rep. Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarDACA advocates see efforts gaining steam in the House Lawmakers put their beer brewing skills to test for charity Overnight Finance: House passes .2T funding package for 2018 | FTC launches Equifax probe | Mnuchin defends honeymoon jet request | MORE (D-Calif.), for building those bridges.
 
Lujan Grisham said that Democrats would stay firm on a commitment to negotiate on government spending only when a path forward for DACA was resolved, pointing out that Republicans have enough votes to pass measures through the House.
 
"They are in control," she said. "If you need any help we are right here."
 
Veteran lawmakers who've been involved in previous immigration reform attempts are holding increasingly open discussions on the matter.
 
After a long talk on the House floor with Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) said "we're trying out to figure out how we get there."
 
"Sometimes in politics, you know how you get things done? When everybody sees the dam's gonna bust," said Gutiérrez, who has announced he will not seek reelection.
 
President Trump announced in September that he would rescind the Obama-era program, giving Congress a six-month period to replace the program that was enacted through executive action.
 
Ryan, who has pushed to keep a DACA fix separate from a must-pass end-of-year spending bill, has stuck to Trump's March 5 deadline for a DACA fix, despite increasing pressure from Republicans to sort it out this year.
 
And in the Senate, a GOP proposal was batted down by the top Democrat on the issue, Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats turn on Al Franken Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign Democratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday MORE (Ill.), as it failed to include a path to citizenship for its beneficiaries.
 
The number of House rank-and-file supporters is growing for a DACA fix, and they are being increasingly vocal in making their support known to leadership.
 
Rep. Mark AmodeiMark Eugene AmodeiDACA advocates see efforts gaining steam in the House Overnight Finance: House passes .2T funding package for 2018 | FTC launches Equifax probe | Mnuchin defends honeymoon jet request | House scraps measure to boost credit union regulator oversight MORE (R-Nev.) signed a discharge petition Wednesday — a proposal to override leadership and force a vote — on the Dream Act, a bipartisan measure that's become the Democrats' preferred vehicle for DACA relief.
 
 
"Folks are more optimistic now for a solution," he said. "I'm pretty optimistic a solution's going to be done, certainly before March."
 
Republican leadership is also feeling pressure from within to take action on DACA.
 
A plan to play hardball on spending bills with Democrats — essentially testing their mettle — was abandoned after House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryRight scrambles GOP budget strategy Defense hawks warn spending fix could hobble military DACA advocates see efforts gaining steam in the House MORE (R-Texas) warned leadership he would not start 2018 without increased defense spending, Politico reported.
 
Meanwhile, Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloHouse Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA House passes concealed carry gun bill 34 House Republicans demand DACA action this year MORE (R-Fla.) pledged to withhold his vote for any spending bill unless a DACA solution is reached, joining many Democrats.
 
Curbelo, who earlier this month butted heads with the CHC over the group's refusal to allow a Republican to join, was praised by Lujan Grisham on Thursday.
 
"To his credit, Rep. Curbelo is saying, 'Look, I want it by the end of the year, these values are important, I'm standing strong.' It gives you a sense that we are still working together," she said.