Latino lawmakers whipped between Capitol Hill and the White House Thursday trying to find a way to stop record deportations without angering Democratic leaders but still respond to Hispanic supporters.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus started the day trying to hash out a demand to President Barack Obama to slow deportations, but as the day moved on, were had three of their members meeting with him on the issue personally.
By the afternoon, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer, a party leader from Maryland, announced that when the House returns March 24 from its weeklong recess, Democrats would use a legislative tactic to try to force a vote on a House comprehensive immigration reform bill, HR15.
That came just a couple hours before three members of the caucus met with the president at the White House and while members met with Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on the issue.
House Democrats plan to file what is known as a discharge petition. The petition is filed with the House clerk. If a majority of House members sign the petition, in this case 218, the bill can be scheduled for a vote. The tactic is rarely used and not usually successful.
But Democrats hope to force at least 21 or 22 Republicans who have said they support immigration reform to back up their statements.
"If you go out and say you are for immigration reform and then you don't sign the discharge petition, you are not doing something that will effect the policy being enacted that you say you are for," he said.