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McCain backs effort to bypass GOP leadership, force House vote on DACA

The ailing Republican senator endorsed the discharge petition that needs just five more signatures.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) uses a wheelchair on Capitol Hill December 1, 2017 in Washington, DC (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) uses a wheelchair on Capitol Hill December 1, 2017 in Washington, DC (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

A petition to bypass the House’s Republican leadership and force an immigration vote on DACA received a major boost, after Senator John McCain (R-AZ) tweeted his support Saturday for the bipartisan measure.

McCain, who remains at home in Arizona while battling brain cancer, has been a frequent critic of President Trump’s decision to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and the administration’s handling of the crisis.

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23 Republicans and 190 Democrats have signed the discharge petition. Just five more signatures are needed to sidestep GOP leadership and allow floor votes on a few different immigration plans.

The Trump administration announced in September that it would try to end DACA and force Congress come up with a solution. President Obama’s 2012 DACA order provided temporary work authorization and deportation relief for nearly one million undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

Although the House Freedom Caucus has derailed any attempts to solve the DACA crisis, support for a solution is a rare point of bipartisan agreement, as polling has consistently shown broad approval for Dreamers. Recently, a top GOP donor threatened to withhold funding if more Republicans don’t sign on to the discharge petition and provide a DACA solution.

Before a federal judge issued a nationwide injunction that temporarily stopped Trump’s dismantling of DACA in January, 122 Dreamers per day lost their protections after the Trump administration ended the program.