Fierce infighting over immigration among House Republicans has put the party on the brink of an embarrassing showdown that Speaker Paul Ryan has been desperately trying to avoid, Politico reported on Monday.
The battle lines were drawn last month as GOP centrists gave immigration hard-liners a choice: Permit a vote on a bill that includes a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers or moderates will join with Democrats to force votes on bipartisan immigration legislation that the more conservative wing of the party will dislike even more.
GOP leadership had hoped to stop moderates from gathering the 218 signatures for a discharge petition needed to trigger the immigration vote on the House floor, but Democrats are ready to team up with enough centrist Republicans to pass a bill codifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program from the Obama administration.
The bill would tighten border security only modestly and it includes virtually no new restrictions on immigration, which would make its passage a humiliating defeat for the GOP-controlled Congress.
Most House Freedom Caucus members are rejecting the offer, because they insist that what they call a "special pathway" for Dreamers, those who were brought as children illegally to the United States, would only betray their ideology and their base for a vote on a bill that has no chance of becoming law.
"Negotiations are ongoing, but … I do not believe that the American people elected Republicans to create any type of 'special pathway' to citizenship for the DACA individuals," Ohio Rep. and Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan, who is in talks with moderates and GOP leaders, told Politico.
Centrists insist that Dreamers be given a path into the legal system, because currently in order to become a citizen they have to marry one or return for several years to their birth nations, which they hardly know, if at all, before applying to return to the place they have called home for most of their lives.
Ryan will make a final push to push the conference behind an immigration plan by this Thursday, a date which moderates have said is a deadline for securing the necessary 218 signatures, which they are expected to clear easily, to set up the immigration vote series for June 25.
But the two wings of the GOP appear completely at odds. Freedom Caucus members say a bill shielding Dreamers from deportation without crucial immigration reforms would demoralize their base and hurt Republicans in the midterms, as well as highlighting that a more conservative DACA bill has no chance to pass.
On the other hand, vulnerable moderate Republicans have an incentive to buck their party's own leadership by backing protections for Dreamers, according to The Hill.
This is because many of the Republicans in tight races for the upcoming congressional elections are in districts where moderate GOP voters and independents can determine the outcome, and these voters support securing protections for Dreamers.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.