Republican rebels in House maneuver to seek protection for Dreamers

Paul Ryan told reporter on Thursday: ‘Going down a path and having some kind of a spectacle on the floor that just results in a veto doesn’t solve a problem.’

A renegade group of centrist Republicans in Congress are maneuvering around their leadership in an effort to introduce immigration reforms to secure legal protections for young, undocumented people in the United States.

The Republican-led effort follows a failure of Congress to act on immigration reform after Donald Trump cancelled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca), an Obama-era program that extended protections from deportation to nearly 700,000 immigrants brought to the US as children.

Federal courts have ordered the administration to temporarily continue the program while the legal challenges to Trump’s decision move forward. The court rulings removed almost all urgency in Congress to act on immigration.

The House speaker, Paul Ryan, said the effort would only produce legislative “show ponies” that would be simply wiped out by the president’s veto.

But Ryan did say he wants to see a bipartisan immigration bill pass the House before the November midterm elections that would provide certainty for the so-called Dreamers.

“Going down a path and having some kind of a spectacle on the floor that just results in a veto doesn’t solve a problem,” he told reporters during a press conference on Thursday.

“We actually would like to solve this problem and that is why I think it’s important for us to come up with a solution that the president can support.”

Timeline

Donald Trump and Dreamers: a timeline of mixed messages

16 August 2015

Upon announcing his presidential bid Donald Trump makes hardline immigration reform central to his campaign and pledges to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca).

“I will immediately terminate President Obama’s illegal executive order on immigration,” he says.

7 December 2016

Weeks after winning the White House, President-elect Trump appears to soften his stance on Dreamers. Despite offering no specific policy he promises to “work something out”.

“On a humanitarian basis it’s a very tough situation.” he tells Time magazine.

16 February 2017

Trump acknowledges the fraught road to a solution, describing Daca as a “very difficult thing for me as I love these kids”.

“I have to deal with a lot of politicians,” Trump says. “And I have to convince them that what I’m saying is right.”

5 February 2017

Trump abruptly announces he will end Daca, phasing out applications for renewal by March 2018. The president insists the decision provides a “window of opportunity for Congress to finally act”.

14 September 2017

Following talks with Democrats, Trump hints a deal may be close, but suggests it wouldn’t include a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.

“We’re not looking at citizenship. We’re not looking at amnesty,” Trump tells reporters.

9 January 2018

Trump promises to “take the heat” for a bipartisan Daca bill being brokered by senators. But within days he revokes his support, calling the bipartisan plan “a big step backwards”. The US government…

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