Dozens of House Republicans Call for Permanent DACA Fix by Year's End

WASHINGTON — Thirty-four House Republicans, including two Texans, are calling for Congress to pass a permanent fix to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by year’s end —adding a new wrinkle to an already looming fight over the immigration program and a potential government shutdown.On Tuesday, the group of Republicans — including Ennis Rep. Joe Barton and San Antonio Rep. Will Hurd — wrote to Speaker Paul Ryan to say that while they agree with President Donald Trump that the Obama-era program should not have been enacted through executive order, Congress should act this month to protect undocumented children brought to the country illegally from deportation.“We are compelled to act immediately because many DACA recipients are about to lose or have already lost their permits in the wake of the program’s rescission. Not acting is creating understandable uncertainty and anxiety amongst immigrant communities,” the lawmakers wrote.The news comes a day after Texas Sen. John Cornyn flatly ruled out a demand by some Democrats to include a legislative fix for DACA in talks over an upcoming must-pass spending bill this month — instead of taking up the issue, along with border security measures, separately. Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican leader, is accusing Democrats of a “hysterical and cynical ploy” by insisting that a plan to protect the estimated 800,000 young immigrants, including 124,000 in Texas, from deportation be reached by year’s end — lest Democrats vote against a spending bill needed to avert a government shutdown.“You hear our Democratic colleagues say they’re going to shut down the government unless we capitulate on the DACA fix, which is not going to happen,” Cornyn told reporters this week, after saying talks are at an “impasse.”By threatening a shutdown, “they are jeopardizing the future fate of those DACA recipients,” he said.The government’s spending — now funded by a stopgap measure approved in September — is set to expire on Dec. 8.But a gridlocked Congress is still unprepared to pass traditional appropriations bills, and is now eyeing a potential two-week stop-gap measure, with talk of another short-term spending bill to fund the government through January.Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in his chamber, has said he’ll push others in his party to vote against a stopgap measure this month. He’s leading the charge of Democrats hoping to leverage a potential shutdown in order to seal a deal for so-called Dreamers, who face the risk of deportation after Trump moved to phase out the Obama-era program in early September. The president extended deportation protections through March.“There’s too much at stake here. We can’t let this to slip into January, February with a March 5 deadline,” Durbin said in an interview with The Washington Post last week. “It should be done, it can be done, easily, simply and quickly.”The GOP members who wrote to Ryan on Tuesday include mostly moderate Republicans, though Barton is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. The longtime Texas leader recently announced plans to retire following this term after embarrassing images from a previous extramarital relationship were made public.A number of Texas Republicans, including Cornyn, have said they favor allowing the Dreamers to remain.But Barton is the sole Texas House Republican to sign onto the latest DREAM Act, a bipartisan bill that would protect Dreamers from deportation. He's also a co-sponsor of a Republican-led bill introduced by Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo that, similar to the DREAM Act, would grant Dreamers legal protections and a path to citizenship. Curbelo also co-signed the letter to Ryan on Tuesday.  Continue reading...

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