Reps. Vicente Gonzalez and Filemon Vela (D-TX) announced Tuesday that they will sign a discharge petition to bypass the GOP leadership and allow the House to consider a permanent solution for undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children. With their signatures, proponents will have 215 of the 218 signatures they need for the rarely-used parliamentary maneuver.
The petition would allow a series of votes on the House floor on proposals to deal with beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offers hundreds of thousands of young immigrants temporary work authorization and deportation relief. President Trump attempted to end the program last fall, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the majority leadership thus far have blocked action.
Before Tuesday, 190 of the 193 House Democrats and 23 of the 235 House Republicans had signed. Gonzalez, Vela, and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) had all withheld their signatures, expressing concerns about the possibility that a DACA bill might include funding for President Donald Trump’s planned border wall. Now, Cuellar is the lone Democratic holdout.
Gonzalez and Vela said in their statement that they will not vote for any fix that includes border wall funding, but wanted to provide 800,000 young Americans with peace of mind.
With their signatures, just three more are needed. These could come from five Republicans representing swing-districts who have said they support a permanent solution, but have not yet signed.
On Sunday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) urged support for the discharge petition, tweeting that “Congress can’t ignore this critical issue — and the many lives it impacts — any longer.”