An immigration enforcement advocate is concerned about an effort in Congress to do an end run to pass a massive amnesty bill and split the Republican Party.
If 25 GOP House members sign on, a "discharge petition" would allow a potentially bad amnesty bill to be passed, which otherwise would never even make it to the floor. That legislation, the USA Act of 2018* [H.R.4796], states it would "provide relief from removal and adjustment of status of certain individuals who are long-term United States residents and who entered the United States before reaching the age of 18, improve border security, [and] foster United States engagement in Central America ...."
Jessica Vaughan is a former Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. State Department, who now serves as director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies. She says their planned floor vote would employ a rare "Queen of the Hill" process around four bills. That plan will allow business-first GOP legislators to unite behind the USA Act that will pass with support from 193 Democrats – and also split GOP votes to ensure the failure of pro-American immigration bills.
"All the Democrats would go for the standalone 'Dream Act' and for this USA Act that the liberal Republicans are putting forward," Vaughan explains. "And if none of them wins, then [House Speaker] Paul Ryan would come up with something that would get it over the finish line – but quite frankly would probably not be a very good bill."
Vaughan says supporters of the discharge petition are only a few Republican votes short of the number they need.
"But I think that with attention to it, people are starting to back away from it who might have thought that this was a good idea to try to reach a compromise but are now seeing that it's rigged to pass a massive amnesty with very little border security," she shares.
Even though President Trump would likely veto any bad amnesty bill, Vaughan argues it is still better if he's not put in that position.
* Uniting and Security America Act of 2018 (sponsored by Rep. Will Hurd [R-Texas])