U.S. House Republicans work to craft Dreamer immigration deal

U.S. House Republicans work to craft Dreamer immigration deal

U.S. House Republicans work to craft Dreamer immigration deal

But even as they gathered in a Capitol basement meeting room, there were no indications that a deal mending the party's chasm over immigration was at hand and no definitive details of where middle ground might be.

Normally, the non-incumbent political party experiences a resurgence during the midterm elections, and with arguably the most unpopular Republican president in US history occupying the White House, there's been much talk about the coming "blue wave" in 2018. He said he expected leaders to present "an outline of a potential bill" Thursday. "It's one thing to get a partisan bill through the House and maybe even get it through the senate and maybe even get the president to sign it".

President Donald Trump a year ago ended an Obama-era program shielding the Dreamers from deportation, but a federal court has ordered the administration to continue the program for now.

The centrists, whose elections in the fall could determine majority control of the House, are anxious to show voters back home that they have tried to resolve the uncertainty facing the young immigrants.

Members left the room Thursday expressing optimism but seeing little evidence of an imminent breakthrough. Ryan exited the meeting declining comment, but said earlier he felt "good about the kind of conversations we're having".

- 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.

Republicans also said, however, that they are wary of a repeat of 1986, the last major amnesty, when Congress and President Reagan approved a path to citizenship for almost 3 million illegal immigrants and promised stiffer enforcement, but ended up with only the amnesty.

It is a complex bind that makes it highly unlikely that any immigration bill will become law as the result of these negotiations.

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A push by House Republicans for immigration legislation stems from Trump's decision to end an Obama-era program protecting from deportation hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the United States illegally when they were children, commonly known as "Dreamers".

"We're not backing down", said Rep. Jeff Denham, R-California. What's more, the issue is already front-and-center in the midterm contests. That talk ran directly counter to what others said coming out of the session.

Voters in five more states, Nevada, Maine, North Dakota, South Carolina and Virginia, on June 12 will choose candidates for their states' November congressional races. Last month, moderates who had organized the discharge petition were picking up momentum.

Retiring Rep. Joe Barton, (R-Texas) has not signed the petition but he warned that the effort to gather signatures is on a fast track, a process that will only speed up if leadership fails to produce a bill. You can be sure that once again, this campaign year at least one long-shot candidate whose inevitable defeat, long before Election Day, has been smugly assumed by the pundits and/or pollsters will respond by quoting President Harry Truman, the patron saint of all political underdogs, who rebutted discouraging polling numbers before his own historic upset victory in 1948: "I wonder how far Moses would have gone if he'd taken a poll in Egypt". Thanks to the pressure of the discharge petition, Republican leadership has gotten the message that this is an important issue.

"We have a firm deadline of next Tuesday", Denham said.

The talks played out as the Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday that border agents made 51,912 arrests in May. But they opposed conservative efforts to slash legal immigration. That is meant to address conservative objections to the demand from the moderates by ensuring there is no net increase in the number of legal immigrants. That discharge petition has 215 supporters in the House, just three short of a majority that would force the vote, and Denham has promised he has the votes to get it there if necessary.

"Every one of those bills that might come forward has amnesty in it", said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, a prominent advocate of tighter immigration policies, after leaving Thursday's meeting.

"It was a reminder to me that I would commit a lot of the rest of my life to restoring respect for the rule of law".

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