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 TaylorTax law supporters rally for Republicans in tough races Young GOP lawmakers push for fresh approach GOP rep on North Korea: Trump methods ‘produce results’ MORE (R-Va.), is preparing a letter asking Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDischarge petition efforts intensify as leadership seeks unity Republicans fear retribution for joining immigration revolt Immigration petition hits 204 as new Republican signs on MORE (R-Wis.) for a DACA fix before year's end, according to Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chairwoman Rep. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamBlack, Hispanic lawmakers hammer Amazon directors' opposition to diversity rule Dem congressional candidate in new ad: ’F--- the NRA’ Hispanic Caucus chair blasts Kelly for 'bigoted comments' MORE (D-N.M.).
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 AguilarImmigration petition hits 204 as new Republican signs on GOP centrists threaten to use conservative’s weapon against them GOP revolts multiply against retiring Ryan 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.
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 AmodeiThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Tensions mount for House Republicans Koch-backed group to target some Republicans over spending vote in new ad campaign Republicans fear retribution for joining immigration revolt 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 ThornberryCongress must act to restore the integrity of American elections Defense bill moves forward with lawmakers thinking about McCain Defense bill amendments target Trump's military parade MORE (R-Texas) warned leadership he would not start 2018 without increased defense spending, Politico reported.
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.