House Republicans said Thursday they hope to pass compromise legislation that would help recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by the end of the year.
“Every day that Congress fails to act, every time that Congress kicks this can down the road, people — real people — are hurt,” Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., said during a press conference on Capitol Hill. “No bill is going to be perfect, but inaction is just unacceptable.”
Newhouse was joined by 14 other GOP members who said they count DACA recipients among their constituents to announce their intent to work toward a solution.
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President Donald Trump's administration announced in September that it would wind down the Obama-era program that allowed undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to remain in the country, giving Congress six-month window to proffer a legislative fix.
The administration said it would stop considering new applications but allowed any current DACA recipients with a permit set to expire before March 5, 2018, the opportunity to apply for a two-year renewal, if they applied by October 5.
However, Newhouse said roughly 22,000 DACA recipients missed the October deadline and will face uncertainty if Congress does not come up with a bill for the president to sign before March.
“Congress must enact legislation to protect Dreamers because the lives of nearly 800,000 young people who came to this country as children — and have lived here for most of their lives — are hanging in the balance,” Newhouse said.
“I believe that our borders must be secured and laws must be upheld, but we must also understand that these young people grew up in America and this is the only country they know,” he added.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., convened a working group soon after the president announced the end of DACA, which consisted of moderate Republicans and those with hardline immigration positions.
Newhouse and the other House GOP members said they are willing to work with the group as well as Democrats to write a bill that garners enough support to move forward.
“When the bill comes to the floor, whatever bill it is," said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, "I predict it will have a vote with well over 300 votes to send this bill to the Senate."