Carlos Curbelo, a Miami Republican representative, is attempting to rally other Republicans in an effort to force votes on a variety of issues relating to immigration. This began on May 9th when Curbelo introduced a petition to allow the House of Representatives to vote on four bills related to immigration; sparking an immigration debate in the House would go a long way in helping a variety of immigrants in the United States – especially since The DREAM Act and DACA are in 2 of the 4 bills. The petition was quickly supported by a number of other Republicans, including fellow Miami Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the petition, which currently needs two additional signatures to pass, would force a vote on the following bills:
- A bill that would provide a path to citizenship for young people eligible for DACA. Additionally, this bill would provide funding for border security.
- An immigration bill that does not currently have enough support to pass in spite of the overwhelming support from Republicans in the House.
- The DREAM Act, which would protect DACA recipients, and those who did not apply for DACA but are eligible, from deportation.
- Lastly, any bill of Paul Ryan’s choosing.
The second bill mentioned, which is very conservative, is not necessarily supported by Curbelo or the other petition supporters; however, it is included in order to encourage more conservative Republicans of the House to sign the petition.
While Curbelo is determined to either get enough signatures for the petition to succeed or to make a compromise with Paul Ryan, it may prove very difficult to obtain the last signatures needed. This petition could have severe political implications for the House members who sign it as many of them are up for reelection. For many of these representatives, signing this petition could mean losing their seat in the House. Additionally, there is also added pressure involved now because – with only 2 more votes needed – one signee is going to endure the theoretical burden of being the person responsible for tipping the scales in favor of passing the petition.
Even if the petition is successful and the bills are successful in the House, they would then go on to the Senate, where the bills might be opposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. So, even while Curbelo’s petition might succeed, he may never be able to accomplish his ultimate goal of achieving immigration reform in a government controlled by conservative Republicans. What this means for immigrants in the United States is that the best way to protect your status, or petition a family member to the U.S., is to take action as soon as possible. A wait-and-see approach in terms of what bills will be passed and what bills won’t turns your immigration status, or the possibility of bringing your family here, into a gamble. Waiting to take action is too unreliable. If you are concerned about a possible deportation, think your immigration status is in jeopardy, or are interested in bringing a family member to the United States, my office offers a free consultation to immigrants and has a team of highly knowledgeable and very experienced immigration attorneys for you.