A long-awaited House vote on immigration will finally be scheduled by the end of the week, according to Rep. Jeff Denham, a key player in the ongoing drama.
The House would be expected to vote, probably later this month, on a plan to provide "a permanent fix for Dreamers as well as border security," Denham told McClatchy.
The California Republican, who has been leading a push for a vote on immigration along with Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., said that a deal with House leadership or a majority of signatures to force a vote past leadership would happen by the end of the week.
"There will definitely be more signatures this week," Denham said.
His increased confidence comes on the eve of Wednesday's two-hour House Republican conference to discuss immigration.
The signatures are part of a discharge petition, which needs 218 signatures to force a vote on four immigration bills on the House floor without leadership approval. The petition had 215 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon. Denham said a few Republicans have been holding off, wanting an immigration vote on the floor but preferring a bill with leadership approval.
Denham said there is a "framework" put together on what will be in the bill that leadership is willing to bring to the floor, but they are still working out details.
Republican leaders, GOP immigration reform advocates such as Denham and the conservative House Freedom Caucus members have been meeting for weeks to resolve the issue.
A major obstacle has been whether to create a special pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, people who came into the country illegally as minors, which Denham and his allies have said must be included and is nonnegotiable. Freedom Caucus members have said they would not support a bill that included a special pathway.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has said his priority is putting forward an immigration bill that President Donald Trump would sign. Trump has at times voiced support for Dreamers, while also saying he wants a solution for them to only come with increased funding for the border.
If the deal fails and the discharge petition does get 218 signatures this week, then the House would vote on four immigration bills June 25. The one with the most votes, assuming a majority, would be sent to the Senate.
Those four bills are:
- The USA Act, which provides a path to legal citizenship for DACA recipients while also providing more for immigration enforcement;
- The DREAM Act, which provides a path to legal citizenship without increased immigration enforcement;
- The Securing America’s Future Act, which includes border wall funding, significant cuts to paths to legal immigration and no pathway to permanent citizenship for Dreamers;
- An unnamed bill, which Ryan could choose.
Republicans such as Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-New Jersey, have worried that the discharge petition would advance the DREAM Act, since it has widespread Democratic support. Trump is unlikely to sign it.