The U.S. House of Representatives is just eight Republican signatories away from forcing a vote on Dreamer legislation after seventeen Republican lawmakers today announced support for a discharge petition. It is expected that all Democrats would support this effort to force votes on Dreamer legislation.
If signed by a majority of lawmakers in the House, the discharge petition — introduced by Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Will Hurd (R-TX) and Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) — would force a vote on four separate immigration bills. This includes the bipartisan Dream Act and the bipartisan USA Act, which would pair an earned legalization process for Dreamers with sensible border security measures. It also includes Representative Goodlatte’s proposal, which FWD.us opposes, and a bill to be proposed by Speaker Ryan.
Today’s announcement builds on growing momentum among lawmakers from both parties to find a solution and create certainty for Dreamers, the majority of whom are gainfully employed or enrolled in college.
For nearly eight months, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have made countless statements about the fate of Dreamers, acknowledging that their futures rely on congressional action. During that time, there have been hundreds of votes in the House of Representatives; zero were focused on protecting Dreamers.
The discharge petition is an opportunity for lawmakers to do the right thing and stand up for Dreamers who desperately deserve certainty in the only country they know as home.
Below please find quotes from several lawmakers who participated in today’s press conference announcing support for the discharge petition:
“Today was important for us to sign a discharge petition, which actually allows a debate to move forward. It is time for Republicans and Democrats to come together on what can be a bipartisan solution but we have to first have the debate. This will force the debate. We want to empower leadership to make sure that they’ve got the ability to bring a bill to the floor but ultimately we want to come together for an American solution that can not only pass the House but also pass the Senate and get supported by the President. We feel very importantly that this has got to happen now, and we’re willing to drive that vote.” —Congressman Jeff Denham (R-CA)
“Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have refused to sign discharge petitions when Republicans are in the majority because I consider them to be a political tool used by those in the minority. That is still my belief. However, this majority-driven petition will be my exception to that rule. For far too long, the House has refused to act to protect DREAMers. We can no longer sit with our arms crossed waiting for a ‘magic wand’ solution.” —Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
“For months, I have worked hard to advance bipartisan proposals through committees but have exhausted all options. By signing this petition, I am joining my colleagues to facilitate long-awaited action. If we do nothing, we abdicate our responsibility to the Executive and Judiciary branches, who continue to shape immigration policy when they have no authority to do so.” —Congresswoman Mia Love (R-UT)
“For over 12 years, Members of both parties have used the immigration issue for petty partisan pursuits, dividing the American public and leaving many immigrants in fear. This time, let’s have a debate and produce a compromise that brings Americans together – those who want to strengthen border security and enforce our immigration laws and those who believe we should welcome the young immigrants who arrived in our country as children, grew up here, and are already contributing to the greatness of America.” —Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)
“It’s simple. The House wants to do its job, and … this actually affords us the opportunity to do our jobs. … The hope is that we will have a positive vote and it will go on to the Senate and we can see something move onto the President’s desk. Ultimately the goal is simple: Let’s do our jobs, have the debate, have the vote and have a real impact on the people we represent.” —Congressman David Valadao (R-CA)
“This is an issue that will not fix itself. This is an issue that requires a legislative solution. … We just have to keep moving forward and I’m optimistic that this is one of the ways to do that. So at the same time this is going on hopefully there’s going to be other things happening, we’re always talking, but I think this is a way to increase pressure and move forward.” —Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
“The people of upstate New York expect us to solve problems and get things done. The time for action is now. They want us to solve the DACA problem. They want us to solve the border security problem. … it’s vitally important that Congress act. … Most Americans want us to fix this problem. That’s what this group is here for. … We need a vote on these issues.” —Congressman John Faso (R-NY)
“We have an opportunity to finally gain operational control of our border and provide a permanent legislative fix for people who came to this country through no fault of their own. We cannot avoid action any longer and this is an important issue that the American people want debated on the house floor.” —Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX)