With House Democrats Filemon Vela and Vicente González this week adding their signatures to the immigration discharge petition—the Texas congressmen had not joined over concerns “it could end in legislation that funds a border wall, which they oppose”—the total number of supporters has now reached 215. Just three more, and this bipartisan coalition will be able to bypass Republican Speaker Paul Ryan and force a vote on permanent protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients:
“I don’t like doing it, but I was with [Brownsville Bishop Daniel E. Flores] yesterday for like an hour and a half and I had meetings with Dreamers,” Vela told The Hill. “That’s pretty much it.”
The sole remaining Democratic holdout, Henry Cuellar, also from Texas, expressed similar concerns. “I need a commitment from Democratic leadership saying that they will not support a border wall in exchange for Dreamers,” he said. “The construction of a physical wall is an expensive and inefficient use of our taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.”
Cuellar’s signature means we’d be only two supporters away, but it’s also important to remember that Donald Trump is the one who broke DACA, and his GOP Congress needs to fix this. Shit, even spineless Ryan said that protecting Dreamers is Congress’ job, yet it’s Democrats, not Republicans, who make up the majority of signatories who want to get this done. Currently, only 23 Republicans have signed on, including Dream Act co-author Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.
Just because Congress punted on the March deadline doesn’t mean this isn’t an urgent issue anymore, with the administration continuing to attack DACA recipients. They need legislation, they deserve it, and they deserve it now. “Republican moderates claim they have the votes to move their discharge petition forward,” Vela said. “Let’s see it.” Keep calling. Keep up the pressure.