House Democrats introduced a discharge petition Wednesday in an effort to force a vote on their comprehensive amnesty bill (H.R. 15). But some illegal alien advocates have criticized that strategy and re-focused their efforts on President Obama, who they hope will declare amnesty by fiat.
Under House rules, a majority of the House (218 Members) can force floor consideration on a bill by signing discharge petition. As of this writing, 170 Democrats and 0 Republicans have signed the petition. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has admitted Democrats are unlikely to get the requisite votes but maintains the effort is necessary to propel Republicans into action.
Some illegal-alien advocacy groups are standing behind the discharge-petition gambit but others have broken ranks and criticized it. According to one New Republic article, they say it’s destined to fail and will drain momentum from efforts to force Obama to implement additional executive amnesty measures. Such groups have already retargeted efforts away from Capitol Hill and toward the White House.
Lorella Praeli of United We Dream told the New Republic, “as long as the petition keeps hope of Congressional action alive, ‘the possibility of administrative relief is less. Our position is very much that the discharge petition isn’t going to get us a vote on immigration.’” And it’s reported that United We Dream’s managing director, Cristina Jiménez, said, “House Democrats should instead focus 100% of their energy on pressuring the White House to halt deportations and provide administrative relief for our families…They cannot simply seek political cover by gathering meaningless petition signatures while standing on the sidelines and refusing to take action to ease the suffering in our communities.”
Presente.org launched the Obama Legacy Project, a national campaign to hold Obama accountable for his deportations. The group’s executive director, Arturo Carmona, said “Latinos are at a tipping point with President Obama on immigration. It’s time for the President to use his executive authority to take action on immigration – ending deportations now. If he does not, his record high deportation levels, high imprisonment rates, and militarized border tactics will brand him as the worst President in history on immigration.”
Advocates from the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) met with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson yesterday to discuss options for slowing deportations. In a statement, FIRM leaders said DHS should “prepare to do more to stop family separation if Congress doesn’t act on immigration by June 27th – the anniversary of the Senate’s passage of bipartisan immigration reform with a path to citizenship.”