Curbelo: DACA fix needs to happen 'this week'

Curbelo: DACA fix needs to happen 'this week'
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan legislative proposal is ready to help recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, according to Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloHispanic Dems seek vote to condemn GOP lawmaker for demanding arrests of 'Dreamers' Live coverage: Trump delivers his first State of the Union GOP lawmaker asks Capitol Police to arrest 'Dreamers' at State of the Union MORE (R-Fla.), but he adds that action on it will have to come this week to get the bill signed this year.

Curbelo told reporters Monday that the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus has a bill that could pass muster with both Republicans and Democrats who want to find a solution after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: 'We have a Napoleon in the making' MORE rescinded DACA in September, giving Congress a March deadline to act to protect the program's 690,000 beneficiaries from potential deportation.

"I’m very happy with the product," said Curbelo, a vocal immigration reform advocate, adding that the bill should have been made public long ago.

"In my view this should’ve been out two weeks ago, three weeks ago," he said.


If a solution is to be found before January, as advocates have urged, Curbelo said, time is running out.

"If we’re going to get this done by the end of the year, we need a product out this week," he said.

Republican members would face some backlash from leadership in demanding a DACA fix in the next two weeks, as Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Defense: Latest on spending fight - House passes stopgap with defense money while Senate nears two-year budget deal | Pentagon planning military parade for Trump | Afghan war will cost B in 2018 House passes stopgap spending measure with defense money MORE's (R-Wis.) team focuses on finalizing a tax bill with Senate negotiators and passing a government spending bill by Dec. 22.

Ryan has said the House will address DACA in the new year, before Trump's March 5 deadline.

Democrats have stuck to the idea that a DACA bill needs to be passed before year's end, and threatened to vote against any spending bill that doesn’t include a fix.

Curbelo said the bill's supporters need to "show strength."

"What we need to do is get the product out, get 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats, and now say we deserve a vote," he said.

"I’m hopeful we can get it all done this week and take a run at it next week," he said.

The Florida lawmaker provided a preview of the bill's contents, which he said "99 percent" of DACA recipients would be "happy with."

"We need people to accept they’re not going to get their ideal bill," he said.

The bill includes provisions from the bipartisan DREAM Act, the Democrats' preferred legislative vehicle, and it doesn't cross a series of red lines set by Democrats, according to Curbelo.

Still, Democrats on the left are pursuing a "clean" DREAM Act — one devoid of security concessions for Republicans to get on board — and Republicans on the right are demanding an enforcement-heavy approach that Democrats have rejected.

That partisan approach, said Curbelo, is "the reason we are where we are on immigration policy."