WASHINGTON — A Republican congressman said he’ll use a rarely invoked maneuver Tuesday to force a bill to the floor for a vote that would protect DACA beneficiaries for the next three years.
Politico reported Sunday that administration officials met to discuss how to roll out President Trump’s decision to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allowed qualified undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children to apply for protected status. About 800,000 people are now registered under DACA.
Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) introduced the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy Act — the BRIDGE Act — in January to extend DACA protections for three years. The legislation has 13 Democratic and 12 GOP co-sponsors.
“When I return to D.C., I will file a discharge petition to force a floor vote on the #BRIDGEAct,” Coffman tweeted Thursday. “#DACA participants grew up here, went to school here, and should be allowed to stay here. The time has come to take action.”
Coffman tweeted the Politico story today: “If this is correct, the #BridgeAct is a must. I will file #dischargepetition tomorrow.”
A discharge petition would bring the bill to floor for consideration without the need to pass out of committee first.
Coffman told MSNBC last Wednesday that he supports Trump’s “proposal in terms of funding for the start of a border wall; I think probably it’s not going to be a continuous wall.”
“But I do think, separate from that, I think that preserving and protecting DACA is very important. And I think DACA is under a serious threat right now,” he said. “These are young people that were brought to the United States as children. They didn’t make the decision to come here. Their parents and their relatives made the decision to come here. They didn’t knowingly violate the law. The adults who took them here violated the law. So I think we should certainly look at them differently. I think DACA is a great program. And I think it ought to be protected.”
In the Senate, Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) tweeted Friday, “Congress needs to take immediate action to protect #DACA kids.”
Flake told CNN on Sunday “it would be the right thing to do” for Trump “to go back” on his campaign promise.
“Obviously, you hope that presidents keep some of their campaign promises and you hope that they ignore others. This is one that he ought to ignore,” he said. “There are 800,000 DACA kids, kids who were brought across the border. The median age, I think, is 6 years old for those 800,000 when they came across the border. They should not be punished for the sins of their parents. That’s just the basic principle that we ought to follow here.”
“They are in — either in school or have graduated and are working. Almost all of them, I think 90-some percent of them, are in the work force. To remove them from the country, to split up families like this, is just not the way we ought to go.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who in July urged Trump to back a revived DREAM Act alongside Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), said he would be supportive of DACA cancellation with a six-month reprieve.
“I have always believed DACA was a presidential overreach,” Graham said in a statement today. “However, I equally understand the plight of the DREAM Act kids who — for all practical purposes — know no country other than America.”
“If President Trump makes this decision we will work to find a legislative solution to their dilemma,” he vowed. “I have introduced legislation to solve this problem along with Senator Durbin. I look forward to working with President Trump and my colleagues in Congress to find a fair solution to this difficult problem.”
Politico reported this evening that GOPs are already talking potential deals to save DACA, with some floating the trade-off of getting border wall funding approved in exchange for keeping DACA beneficiaries in the country.
“I reject,” tweeted Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). “I will not agree to allow you to be racist on Tuesday in exchange for you being a little less racist on Monday.”