Sen. John McCain Supports Effort to Force Vote on Immigration Bill in House of Representatives

Sen. John McCain said Saturday that he supports an effort in the House of Representatives to force a vote on an immigration bill. “I strongly support the bipartisan effort in the House to file a discharge petition to reopen the debate on immigration …

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NY Times: Vulnerable Republicans Pushing Immigration Vote

Republicans facing difficult reelection campaigns have begun pushing for a vote on immigration to protect young undocumented immigrants, The New York Times reports. Members of the GOP from California, Florida, Colorado and Texas have all signed a petition calling on House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to hold a vote on legislation that would protect Dreamers, as those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program were known.

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Betsy DeVos Stirs Uproar by Saying Schools Can Call ICE on Undocumented Kids

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos provoked an outcry Tuesday when she said schools can choose to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement on potentially undocumented students.

“I think that’s a school decision, it’s a local community decision,” DeVos told the House Education and the Workforce Committee. “I refer to the fact that we have laws and we also are compassionate. I urge this body to do its job and address and clarify where there is confusion around this.”

DeVos was responding to a question from Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) about whether she thinks school leaders should call ICE on students or their parents.

Advocacy groups immediately protested her answer, pointing out that under the Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe, all children ― undocumented or not ― are entitled to a free public education. {snip}

Elizabeth Hill, press secretary for the U.S. Department of Education, provided HuffPost with a clarification of DeVos’ remarks on Wednesday. “Her position is that schools must comply with Plyler and all other applicable and relevant law,” said Hill.

{snip}

MALDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, issued a statement saying that DeVos should resign for “abject incompetence” if she does not “issue an immediate clarification that emphasizes the holding in Plyler.” The organization also said it “stands ready to hold accountable through legal challenge anyone in public education who attempts to report a student to ICE.”

{snip}

The American Civil Liberties Union also blasted DeVos’ comments at the hearing.

“Let’s be clear: Any school that reports a child to ICE would violate the Constitution. The Supreme Court has made clear that every child in America has a right to a basic education, regardless of immigration status{snip} ,” said Lorella Praeli, director of immigration policy and campaigns for the ACLU, in a statement,

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Immigration Showdown Over Pathway to Citizenship for Dreamers Gets Closer to Forced Vote

The House is whipping itself closer to a forced vote on immigration better than Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy have been able to recently. A discharge petition has nearly gathered the critical number of signatures to make it happen and leadership is scrambling for them to hold off.

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Canada’s longest serving immigration detainee appeals his five-year detention

Superior Court Justice Alfred O’Marra ruled in October that the federal government could continue to jail failed refugee claimant Ebrahim Toure, who had already spent more than four years in indefinite detention, because there was still a reasonable prospect he could be deported to his native Gambia. The judge based his decision in large part on what federal immigration authorities described as a “pending” interview with Gambian officials, which O’Marra said could conceivably lead to a “breakthrough” in the case and Toure’s removal.

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Immigration Showdown Puts Ryan’s Job in Peril

Paul Ryan is struggling to stop an immigration showdown in the House, as his Republican Conference spirals into an all-out war that could put his speakership on the line.

{snip}

But that call to unity fell on deaf ears.

A group of moderates frustrated with the lack of action to protect Dreamers from deportation is expected to collect enough signatures to force bipartisan immigration votes in the coming days, according to lawmakers and aides tracking the effort. And conservatives who oppose those bills are threatening to hold Republican leaders — starting with Ryan — responsible if they don’t stop it.

“If we run an amnesty bill out of a Republican House, I think all options are on the table,” Freedom Caucus member Scott Perry (R-Pa.) told reporters Monday night when asked whether Ryan could remain speaker if the so-called discharge petition succeeds.

“If leadership doesn’t stop it, they would be violating their own word, which was the Hastert rule, majority of the majority,” agreed Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), referring to an unofficial Republican policy of not holding votes on matters that aren’t backed by more than half of the conference.

Conservatives are so desperate to stop the discharge petition that they’re suggesting Ryan strong-arm moderates to get them to back down {snip}, Such a move would be devastating for those centrists, many of whom hail from swing districts targeted by Democrats.

“I know when I voted against a rule, [leadership] threatened to take away all travel, they threatened to take away NRCC contributions,” said Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). “Most of those people who are on the discharge petition are very much closer to leadership than members of the Freedom Caucus, so I don’t see them” defying leadership.

One conservative lawmaker who was kicked off the whip team several years ago for defying leadership told Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) that they should remove moderates who support the discharge petition from the current whip team. GOP leaders said nothing in response, according to a lawmaker in the room.

{snip}

The clash comes as Republicans face a daunting election this fall. {snip}

Ryan also has found himself inside a pressure cooker, with a small faction of Republicans on the Hill and in the White House whispering that he should step down now rather than serve out his term as speaker. If the discharge petition succeeds, it would only further weaken Ryan’s hand.

That’s one of the reasons some Republicans who support the idea in theory have held back from signing the petition. Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) told Politico on Monday that he didn’t want to put Ryan in a bad situation so was unlikely to join his colleagues in forcing the issue. At this moment, however, no other lawmaker would likely have the 218 votes it would take to become speaker.

Ryan, who opposes the discharge petition because he says it empowers Democrats, was close to halting it last week. On Thursday, several moderates agreed that they would hold off on collecting the final signatures to force the issue. In return, the speaker would work with them and the Freedom Caucus to allow a vote on a conservative immigration bill in addition to a measure more palatable to moderates.

But Freedom Caucus members, while claiming they want to negotiate, have said they would not allow such a process unless the second bill meets their own parameters and is supported by a majority of Republican lawmakers. A bipartisan bill like the one moderates are seeking, they argue, runs counter to the results of the 2016 election.

{snip}

At the same time, leaders have not reached out to moderates to clarify what the second bill would look like, making them feel as though the pitch for a two-vote deal was disingenuous. And during a whip meeting Monday night, Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said the House would certainly vote on the conservative immigration bill sought by conservatives in June but did not affirm that legislation backed by the moderates would also get a vote, raising skepticism among centrists.

That lack of a plan has led moderates to forge ahead with their discharge petition. Several who are about to sign on said they want to speak personally with Ryan first to give him a heads-up.

One of those leaning toward signing this week is Rep. Tom Reed of New York, a staunch leadership ally.

Conservatives, meanwhile, have continued to say they’re willing to work with moderates to come up with an immigration bill that would get a majority of the conference’s backing. But GOP leaders and moderates don’t believe them, because negotiations have been ongoing for months without a breakthrough.

To beat back the petition, conservatives have suggested GOP leaders put the far right’s immigration proposal on the floor. That plan procedurally would squash the petition for a time. But GOP leaders note that moderates could — and have vowed to — block any standalone vote on a conservative bill that doesn’t also include a vote on their own ideas. Procedurally, all that moderates would have to do is vote with Democrats to kill the rule governing debate for the conservatives’ bill.

Conservatives, however, don’t believe the moderates and are encouraging GOP leaders to call their bluff.

{snip} Following Ryan’s plea for unity, Meadows has gone out of his way to tell members, aides and reporters that conservatives are not talking about a “motion to vacate the chair” against Ryan, a procedural move that would force a vote on whether he should remain speaker. {snip}

If it came to that, however, most of the conference would probably back Ryan, his allies say. Most of the conference understands that the speaker is in an impossible position, they argue.

{snip}

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