A Republican representative from Colorado, Mike Hoffman, said on Thursday that he’s going to try forcing a vote in favor of an act which would protect undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.
Politico reports that Hoffman plans to invoke what’s known as a “discharge petition” to push his proposal into a vote. If a majority of representatives can be persuaded to join in favor of legislation, the House would be required to begin deliberating on it next month.
The rarely-used maneuver is timed to counter reports that President Donald Trump is considering putting an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which began under his predecessor, Barack Obama, in 2012.
While the current commander-in-chief promised to vanquish DACA with an executive order soon after taking office, Trump has since become the victim of internal conflict.
DACA, which has benefited some 800,000 young men and women, allows its recipients to obtain temporary and renewable residency and work permits.
In order to qualify for DACA, applicants must have been born after June 15, 1981, and have lived in the United States since the same date in 2007. Only immigrants who arrived to America undocumented before their 16th birthday can participate.
The program’s recipients are known as ‘Dreamers’ and have to undergo a criminal background check before being granted their renewable authorizations. They must also be enrolled in education, have graduated from high school or have served or been discharged honorably from the military.
(2/3): When I return to D.C., I will file a discharge petition to force a floor vote on the #BRIDGEAct.
— Rep. Mike Coffman (@RepMikeCoffman) August 31, 2017
Coffman, a Republican, has found support from his own party. At least 12 other conservative representatives have joined the bill as cosponsors, while the initiative is likely to garner support from most House Democrats.
Donald Trump’s tenuous stance on DACA has wavered from being an outspoken critic to assuring Dreamers that those who work hard and honest have little to fear from his administration.
Reports from earlier in the week indicate that Donald Trump remains undecided.
However, impending litigation could force the president’s hand.
A lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of eleven red states – including Texas, Alabama, and South Carolina – is set to challenge any continuation of DACA.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has lambasted the program as unconstitutional, but said that the suit isn’t demanding that any DACA beneficiaries be deported or have their residency permits revoked.
Nevertheless, immigration activists like Tom Jawetz of the Center for American Progress have decried the use of hundreds of thousands young adults and adolescents for political means.
“The idea that we would in the next three months phase out DACA and return nearly a million people to undocumented status is unconscionable,” he said.
Paxton and his fellow attorneys general have set a deadline for the federal government to act on DACA by September 5th to avoid being sued.