By San Antonio Express-News
Hey Congress, let’s have that debate and vote on DACA.
Let’s put these competing proposals on border security and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to the test. Let’s see where the chips fall on the House floor, as opposed to meaningless rhetoric and inflammatory red meat.
That’s what U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, is pushing for even though Republican leadership appears to hate the idea.
As has been widely reported, Hurd has introduced a discharge petition to circumvent leadership. It requires signatures from the majority of House members. That would mean 25 Republicans and every Democrat.
It’s a maneuver that rarely works, but kudos to Hurd for trying. It’s the right thing to do, and it reflects an appropriate sense of urgency. He and his colleagues have until June 25 to collect the necessary signatures.
Hurd and other lawmakers want to bring four bills to the floor. This would include his bipartisan U.S.A. Act, which provides protection for DACA recipients and increases border security.
It would also include the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients; and a bill that would grant temporary status to DACA recipients while deeply cutting legal immigration, this last part not action we can support.
House Speaker Paul Ryan could choose the fourth option, likely a bill that combines border wall funding with protections for DACA recipients. This strikes us as the best option as it would, ostensibly, cover the full spectrum of the debate over immigration and border security. Everyone would have his say.
The proposal with the most votes would then go on to the U.S. Senate. It sounds far too reasonable to ever succeed.
Hurd, up for re-election in a swing district, is acting with a sense of urgency that many of his colleagues appear to be lacking. Perhaps this is because his district spans much of the U.S.-Mexico border. But the sense of urgency should be felt by all.
It’s been estimated some 700,000 DACA recipients are living in the United States. These are people who have grown up in America. They participate in our communities and contribute to the economy. It makes absolutely no sense to deport them to countries of origin they don’t even know.
Ever since President Donald Trump rescinded DACA, effective in March, their futures have been entirely uncertain. Federal courts have intervened, but Congress has yet to act. Perhaps Hurd and his colleagues can change that.