- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 17, 2018

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday that rebel Republicans’ petition drive to force a vote granting citizenship rights to illegal immigrant “Dreamers” can’t succeed because the president will not sign the legislation they’re pushing.

Mr. Ryan and fellow GOP leaders are grappling with one of their biggest challenges yet with the Republican rebels speedily gathering signatures on the “discharge petition.” Twenty Republicans had signed as of just before noon on Thursday, and if they can get to 25 signatures, combined with all Democrats in the chamber, they can force their Dreamer bill to the floor over Mr. Ryan’s objections.

But Mr. Ryan said President Trump can’t accept the bill the rebels are pushing, and going down that route would sour chances of getting any solution.

“I think it’s futile to bring a discharge through which would guarantee nothing goes into law,” Mr. Ryan said.

The process is complicated, but if the rebels get enough signatures, it would force a debate on the House floor featuring four different immigration proposals. Among them would be a “clean” amnesty for Dreamers, a bill combining an amnesty with promises of a study on border security, an enforcement-heavy bill that would not include a new pathway to citizenship, and then a bill of Mr. Ryan’s choosing.

The amnesty combined with the border security study is likely the leading option in the House, but that falls far short of Mr. Trump’s demands for concrete border security improvements, as well as changes to the way legal immigrants are granted entry.

Mr. Ryan called the president’s proposal “extremely reasonable” and said he was surprised it hasn’t earned more bipartisan support.

A version of the Trump plan came up for a vote in the Senate earlier this year but didn’t clear 50 votes, much less the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster. Neither did any other plans, however, leaving the Senate in a stalemate.


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