By Andrew Soboeiro
Ever since Trump rescinded DACA last fall, hundreds of thousands of young immigrants have been in limbo. And while the Senate has considered multiple bills to shore up these kids’ status, not one of them has passed. This led many advocates for immigrants to worry that the Federal government will never resolve the issue, leaving Dreamers in jeopardy. Now, the House of Representatives is taking this question up. A recent partnership between Democrats and moderate Republicans has raised hopes that an immigration bill can be passed after all.
Reviewing the Resolution
Democrats and moderate Republicans in the House of Representatives are currently pushing a resolution by Representative Jeff Denham (R-CA). Known as Resolution 774, this initiative would force GOP leaders to let several immigration bills come to the floor. One of these bills, the Uniting and Securing America Act of 2018, would provide provisional legal status to most Dreamers while also funding increased border security. Another, the Dream Act of 2017, would offer conditional permanent residence to Dreamers who met certain educational and conduct requirements.
Ordinarily, the Speaker of the House gets to decide which bills come to a vote. Resolution 774 would bypass this process, requiring the House to vote on the aforementioned bills even if Speaker Paul Ryan rejects them. As of June 4th, the resolution had 213 supporters, including most House Democrats and a number of swing-district Republicans. It needs 218 votes to go into effect. Its architects hope to reach a deal with GOP leaders before this point, allowing them to bring the bills to a vote through the ordinary process. But if no such deal is achieved, Resolution 774 may provide an ace in the hole.
Prospects for Passage
Given that the resolution is only five votes short of going into effect, there is a good chance that it will succeed, either directly or as a means to pressure House leaders into allowing a vote. It’s less clear how likely any one of the affiliated bills is to pass. The Senate debated two similar proposals back in February; both received a majority of votes, but because of filibustering, neither ultimately became law. The House doesn’t have filibusters, so there’s some hope that it might pass one of these bills. But even if one does pass, it is unlikely to make it through the Senate, let alone to get enough votes to overcome a presidential veto.
Even given these poor prospects, it would still be a significant victory for Dreamers if one of these bills passed the House. It would demonstrate that there is substantial support for immigrant rights in Congress, even among Republicans. This would send a message to GOP leaders that they cannot keep ignoring Dreamers forever, and sooner or later, they will have to get serious about protecting their rights.
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