House Republicans Pushing DACA Vote

Moderate and conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives wrangle over taking an immigration vote to the floor just months ahead of midterm elections this fall. With current GOP control, representatives hope to hammer out a deal before Democratic-supported legislation enters into the overall debate.

Both moderate and conservative Republicans support efforts to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries and to also offer them a pathway to citizenship, though details around this prove thorny. In addition, associated elements of potential legislation– a border wall and also changes to the legal immigration system– add hiccups to the process as a whole. Moderates are maneuvering to push a vote before the end of June while conservatives work to delay a vote.

According to a Bloomberg report, Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman Michael McCaul from Texas describes the leading proposal as one providing a “new path for all individuals eligible for the DACA program– not just current recipients– to stay in the U.S. permanently.”

Jeff Denham, a California representative, says the leading proposal calls for an 8-year visa and with a “bridge” to citizenship.

While moderate viewpoints push to protect and expand DACA, the proposal could be a tough sell to conservatives “especially if they haven’t seen convincing advances in border security first.”

CNN reports DACA-related efforts by conservative Republicans include the creations of a “new type of visa based on a point system and would apply to a larger group of immigrants like DACA recipients though not limited to them– a way to address conservatives’ diametric opposition to what they call a ‘special pathway’ to citizenship they say rewards people who live in the U.S. illegally.”

While the conservative proposal to create a new visa category offers a sense of relief for some, the flip side is that the new visas “would likely come from other existing categories, so as to not add to the number of legal immigrants admitted to the U.S. annually, and there are likely to be some cuts to family-based migration and the diversity visa, as Trump has sought.”

Neil Bradley, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president, chimes in on the immigration debate. In a letter to the legislative body, Bradley voices support for a bipartisan solution and also “urges the House to reject significant cuts to legal immigration and to consider including measures that provide certainty to other groups of individuals who are at risk of losing their legal ability to work in the United States.”