It was a week ago when we were warned of some serious stirrings among House Republicans who were suggesting that they might support a discharge petition forcing a vote on a DACA bill over the objections of the GOP leadership. It’s a risky and relatively rare move since it puts some members of the caucus at odds with their own team, but with the support of all the Democrats it would only take a little more than two dozen of them to pull it off. As the Washington Times is reporting this week, the movement seems to be picking up steam and more Republicans are indicating their support.
The pro-Dreamer GOP rebellion is now just five votes shy of success after two more Republicans signed onto the petition drive Wednesday seeking to force the House to vote on legal protections for illegal immigrants in the DACA program.
Republican Reps. John Katko of New York and David A. Trott of Michigan added their names to the push, bringing the total to 20 Republicans so far. If they get to 25 names, and all of the chamber’s Democrats also sign, it will force the Dreamer debate onto the floor of the House, over the objections of GOP leaders.
The new signatures came just hours after House Speaker Paul D. Ryan pleaded with his troops not to sign, saying it undercut fellow Republicans’ control of the chamber.
Can they find five more Republicans to sign on, despite Ryan pleading with them not to do so? Keep in mind that we’re getting into the heat of the midterm season and a lot of those members are in purple districts where DACA polls pretty well. I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if it happens. That’s going to make for a lot of tough votes for many of the members to take.
As I see it, it may be time to make the best of a bad situation. In an ideal world, the number of illegal aliens getting amnesty and jumping the line in front of all of the legal immigrants who spend years and huge sums of money to come into the country the right way would be zero. Sadly, none of you seem to be willing to declare me Emperor and let me simply make all of these decisions about running the country. That being the case, there may be a need for a compromise.
Here’s how that might work. If you’re more of a hawk on immigration like me, you might also be in favor of zero cases of amnesty. Then there are the folks out in the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren/Kamala Harris side of the ideological divide who would put the number at somewhere around 23 million. If we have to forge a compromise and can keep the number down to somewhere between 800K and a million who all arrived here as children during a specific period, we’re still splitting the loaf far more toward our end of things.
And if we want to be crude enough to drag nasty old politics into the policy discussion, the Democrats and their allies in the media have done a heck of a job selling the entire “dreamers” story and DACA polls pretty well. Letting the more vulnerable GOP House members kick in some votes for the program could wind up sparing us additional bleeding in November.
But, as I’ve said repeatedly, a “clean” DACA bill should be out of the question. Asking for this huge of concession from conservatives has to come with some compromise from the other side as well. The GOP should be asking for full border wall funding, enhanced recruiting of and funding for ICE and Border Patrol employees, Kate’s Law and mandatory E-Verify at a minimum. Even if we don’t get all of that, we at least need to get most of it. (We are talking about a compromise after all.)
If the Democrats refuse, then the Republicans who were willing to support a DACA bill can go back to their constituents and tell them that the other party shot themselves in the foot and killed the bill. Many of us aren’t going to like it all that much, but this doesn’t have to be the end of the world.