CHN: Immigration Bills in Flux in the House

The House is expected to vote this week on two immigration bills opposed by advocates, but the future of the votes is uncertain. The more restrictive of the two bills, sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), is considered by advocates to be extremely anti-immigrant. It would make historic cuts to the number of immigrants, end the family-based immigration system and the diversity visa lottery, provide no path to citizenship for Dreamers (people who were brought to the U.S. as children), and make unlawful presence in the U.S. a criminal offense instead of a civil one, in addition to other harmful provisions. Some moderate Republicans had been working with their conservative counterparts on a second immigration bill that, while maintaining many of the harmful pieces of the Goodlatte bill, would create a new merit-based visa program for Dreamers. The planned votes were temporarily thrown for a loop on June 15, however, when President Trump said he would not support the more “moderate” bill, which advocates and Democrats were already opposed to. However, President Trump’s position changed later that day, so that it appears he would sign either bill. He is expected to meet with House Republicans about the bills on Tuesday, June 19. Any bill would need Democratic support to pass the 60-vote threshold in the Senate.

Advocates had been supportive of efforts by Democrats and several Republicans in the House to take up four immigration bills, with one of the bills being a clean Dream Act to provide a pathway to permanent residency and eventual citizenship for Dreamers. However, signatures from 218 representatives were needed to force votes on four bills, and supporters were only able to secure 216 signatures. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) had previously promised members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus a vote on the Goodlatte bill in exchange for their vote on the House Farm Bill, which is also expected to be taken up again this week (see the related article in this Human Needs Report for more information on that topic).

Dream Act