Luis Alonso Lugo, Associated Press, November 9, 2017
Nearly two dozen House Republicans on Thursday pressed Speaker Paul Ryan to act quickly on legislation that would protect some 800,000 young immigrants brought illegally to the United States as children.
The lawmakers said efforts to grant such deportation protection would easily pass the House, with dozens in the GOP set to join Democrats in backing any bill.
Democrats, the minority party in the House, repeatedly have pressed for a legislative solution. Now, this show of support from Republicans, including some from competitive House districts, reflects a political shift.
Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., said at the Capitol Hill news conference that their remarks were meant to encourage Ryan and “maybe put a little pressure on him as well to come forward with that solution that a majority of Republicans can support.”
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reiterated on Thursday that her intention is to have legislation this year.
Newhouse said that including the deportation protection in a year-end spending bill to keep the government open is not their first option. But, he added, that “if in order to be successful in this issue that is an option that is open to us, I think a lot of people would probably be open to that.”
House conservatives warned Ryan, R-Wis., last month against doing that. Ryan said Thursday he favors considering the issue “separately, on its own merits.”
Democrats have indicated they want to use that spending bill to force action on behalf of the young immigrants, commonly referred to as “Dreamers,” based on proposals called the DREAM Act that would have provided similar protections.
“No immigration bill on the omnibus or any other must-pass piece of legislation in 2017,” said GOP Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas after last week’s meeting with Trump. “He agreed to that, as does the Senate leadership, and I think the vast majority of Republican senators.”
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said using the spending bill to resolve the immigrants’ status was “the pipe dream of some Democrats.”