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 TaylorVirginia New Members 2019 Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — First lady's office pushes for ouster of national security aide | Trump taps retired general as ambassador to Saudis | Mattis to visit border troops | Record number of female veterans to serve in Congress Record number of female veterans to serve in next Congress MORE (R-Va.), is preparing a letter asking Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanCalif. congresswoman-elect bumps into Pelosi at airport How this year’s freshmen can save the Congress — and themselves Democrat Katie Porter unseats GOP's Mimi Walters MORE (R-Wis.) for a DACA fix before year's end, according to Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chairwoman Rep. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamNew Mexico New Members 2019 A red, white and blue wave Congress should broaden legislation to curb medical price gouging 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 AguilarHispanic Caucus rallying behind Luján in leadership bid Hispanic Dems want answers on detention of immigrant minors Aguilar launches bid for Democratic leadership position 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 AmodeiRevitalize our defense industrial base with mine permitting reform To reduce China's leverage, rebuild America's minerals supply chain GOP staves off immigration revolt — for now 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.
 
 
Meanwhile, Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloFlorida New Members 2019 3 ways House Dems can fight climate change when sweeping policy is off the table Defeated Republicans mocked by Trump fire back at president 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.