House Democrats are urging 30 Republicans who've said they support some form of amnesty to sign a discharge petition and force a floor vote on H.R. 15, their comprehensive amnesty bill. "We're calling out the members of the House…who have said they support immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship," said Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo. "We're saying, 'Do something about your support…(P)ut their pen where their mouth is."
191 of the 199 Democrats have signed the discharge petition – short of the 218 signatures needed to force a floor vote. Proponents admit they’re unlikely to get the requisite signatures but say the last-ditch effort is designed to build enough public pressure to force Republican leaders into action. It’s also designed to give President Obama political cover to adopt changes by executive fiat if no legislation moves.
Democrats are targeting 30 Republicans who have stated at least some support for legislation that provides citizenship to illegal aliens. The targets are Reps. Don Young (Alaska), Chris Stewart (Utah), Sean Duffy (Wis.), Spencer Bachus (Ala.), Jeff Denham (Calif.), David Valadao (Calif.), Greg Walden (Ore.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Michael Grimm (N.Y.), Darrell Issa (Calif.), Mark Amodei (Nev.), Mike Coffman (Colo.), James Lankford (Okla.), Mike Kelly (Penn.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), Devin Nunes (Calif.), Jason Chaffetz (Utah), Joe Heck (Nev.), Peter King (N.Y.), Raul Labrador (Idaho), Sam Johnson (Texas), John Carter (Texas), Daniel Webster (Fla.), Aaron Schock (Ill.), Steve Pearce (N.M.), Tim Griffin (Ark.), Justin Amash (Mich.), Vance McAllister (La.) and Renee Ellmers (N.C.).
"This is our last effort [this year] to do this as a legislative fix," said Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla. "I, like a lot of my colleagues, obviously want [Obama] to act if nothing is done [legislatively]. But let there be no excuse from the Republicans that they are creating the need for the president to act if they do not act."
Garcia was among the members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who met with DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson last week. The secretary reportedly outlined a timeline that called for the introduction of short-term enforcement-policy “fixes” in the next few weeks and broader changes later this year.
President Obama today met with religious advocates of a comprehensive amnesty. In a statement, Obama "emphasized that while his Administration can take steps to better enforce and administer immigration laws, nothing can replace the certainty of legislative reform and this permanent solution can only be achieved by Congress."