WASHINGTON — A Nevada Republican congressman signed House Democrats’ discharge petition to push a vote on a solution to save 800,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals beneficiaries from deportation, arguing that committee process hasn’t produced an immigration solution for years on end.
Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) announced that he had joined the effort as Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) said separately that Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) has been gathering support from dozens of House GOPs on a letter asking Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to save DACA before the end of the year.
Grisham told reporters that the letter will essentially say to Ryan, “You’ve got to fix this. You’ve got nine days. What is your plan, what is your path?”
Amodei, one of two Republicans to sign onto the DREAM Act discharge petition so far, said in a statement that after President Trump rescinded the program and gave Congress a March 5 deadline to resolve the DACA issue, “I said that floor action was – and continues to be – absolutely necessary after years of coulda, woulda, shoulda.”
“If any of my colleagues believe DACA is the perfect material to insert into an end-of-the-year spending bill, tax reform bill, or other type of major legislation, in view of this week’s chapter in partisan polarization – I respectfully disagree,” the congressman said.
Amodei explained that “signing this discharge petition represents the only tool left to me as an individual member of Congress to keep my word by doing everything I can to bring the DACA issue to the House floor for a vote before the end of this year.”
“Once again, this falls into the category of I’d rather be criticized for attempting to move an issue toward a solution than watching nothing happen on issues for years,” he added. “As I have said before, it’s impossible to defend doing nothing in circumstances like this.”
“If successful, the discharge petition would bring the bill to the floor, where amendments may be debated, discussed, and voted on in the Rules Committee and on the House floor. The last time I checked, that’s called the legislative process, a process which allows people to judge Congress’s work product by virtue of how we voted instead of what we said.”
Ryan acknowledged at his press conference on Capitol Hill today, “Do we have to have a DACA resolution? Yes, we do.”
“The deadline’s March, as far as I understand it. We’ve got other deadlines in front of that, like fiscal year deadlines and appropriation deadlines,” he added.
Ryan said Democrats aren’t “in a very good position to be making demands” and if they “want to get to a solution, they ought to come to the table and start talking.”
Amodei is a co-sponsor of the Recognizing America’s Children Act, a bill introduced by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) in March with mostly GOP co-sponsors to legalize certain illegal immigrants brought to the country as children.
Back when Trump first rescinded DACA, Amodei said Congress had to get to work to protect DACA beneficiaries including “individuals currently serving in our military, working professionals, students, and other contributing members of our society.”
“The last time Congress passed any sort of substantial immigration reform was during the Reagan Administration,” he said in September. “As far as I’m concerned, if we’re unable to kick it into high gear and follow through on this issue after 31 years – the blame is rightfully Congress’s.”