House to Vote on 2 Immigration Bills to Tamp Down Efforts to Employ ‘Discharge Petition’

June 17, 2018 Updated: June 18, 2018    

WASHINGTON—Two Republican immigration bills are set for a vote in the House this week in a move by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to tamp down efforts to employ a rarely used “discharge petition” procedure.

The discharge petition, which was two votes shy of succeeding, would have gone around the speaker to force a vote on four bills, and the one with the most votes would pass—a big win for Democrats.

Both bills up for vote this week would give some type of deportation protection to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients while addressing the administration’s border security priorities that include closing loopholes and replacing chain migration with a merit-based system.

The Securing America’s Future (SAF) Act, introduced in January by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), has not yet secured the required 218 votes, so the second bill, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018, was introduced on June 14 as a compromise.

Under the second bill, if funding for certain border security provisions is rescinded, the protections for the DACA population would also be rescinded.

Both bills include provisions to stop the catch-and-release practice, which currently sees thousands of illegal immigrants being released into the United States with court dates years down the road. Both bills include strong border security, building a wall along the southwest border, and a narrowing of the criteria for a credible fear asylum claim.

Currently, around 80 percent of credible fear claims at the border are accepted, whereas only about 20 percent of those go on to have their asylum cases approved by a judge.

It is not clear whether any Democrats will support either bill.

President Donald Trump said on June 15 that he backs both bills.

“He would sign either the Goodlatte or the leadership bills,” Deputy White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said in a statement.

Four Senate immigration bills failed to go anywhere in February, prior to the March 5 deadline Trump gave Congress to legislate a permanent fix for the DACA group.

 

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