GOP leaders pledge to intensify push for hard-line DACA bill 

GOP leaders pledge to intensify push for hard-line DACA bill 
© Camille Fine

GOP leaders promised House conservatives Thursday they’ll push more forcefully for a hard-line immigration package that couples "Dreamer" protections with a host of tougher enforcement measures favored by immigration hawks.

A number of conservative Republicans are rallying behind a new proposal, sponsored by House Judiciary Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview MORE (R-Va.), that would take aggressive steps to strengthen security measures while granting certain rights to beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpIllinois governor says state has gotten 10 percent of medical equipments it's requested Biden leads Trump by 6 points in national poll Tesla offers ventilators free of cost to hospitals, Musk says MORE is ending in March.

GOP leaders have not put their full weight behind the bill, as Rep. Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOn The Money: Infrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens | Trump officials detail new small-business loan program | Outbreak poses threat to mortgage industry Infrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens Trump backs infrastructure bill as next phase of coronavirus relief MORE (R-Calif.), the majority leader, continues to engage in bipartisan talks designed to reach a DACA deal before the March 5 deadline. But that seems poised to change.

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Huddling Thursday night with leaders of the far-right Freedom Caucus, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWho should be the Democratic vice presidential candidate? The Pelosi administration It's not populism that's killing America's democracy MORE (R-Wis.) promised Reps. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: McConnell, Pelosi at odds over next relief bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump blends upbeat virus info and high US death forecast Meadows joins White House in crisis mode MORE (R-N.C.) and Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanMeadows joins White House in crisis mode Trump, privacy hawks upend surveillance brawl Top GOP post on Oversight draws stiff competition MORE (R-Ohio) that he’d assemble a team “to work that bill harder,” according to a source familiar with the discussion.

GOP leaders also vowed to bring a vote on the Goodlatte bill by the end of February — “but only if we get 218 Rs by then,” said the inside source, referring to a majority of House Republicans.

“We think that we need to have a conservative immigration bill on the floor,” said Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), a member of the Freedom Caucus, Thursday night.

The Goodlatte proposal would combine legal protection for Dreamers with a long list of tougher enforcement measures, including border wall construction, the elimination of diversity visas, a crackdown on “sanctuary cities” and a reduction in legal immigration.

Still, the bill could have a tough time finding the support of 218 Republicans, as some conservatives will likely balk at the DACA protections, which they deem amnesty, while centrist GOP lawmakers pushing the Dream Act are sure to oppose the hard-line enforcement measures.

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Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloRepublicans can't exploit the left's climate extremism without a better idea Progressive Latino group launches first incumbent protection campaign The Memo: Bad polls for Trump shake GOP MORE (R-Fla.) opposed the Republicans’ spending bill Thursday night to protest his party’s inaction on DACA. 

“And I will continue voting 'no' until we get a deal done,” he said leaving the chamber floor.

“This institution, regrettably, needs to be forced to action, otherwise it doesn’t move. So what I’m trying to do with my vote is fast-forward the process.”