The bill offers a pathway to permanent residence and citizenship for DACA recipients (commonly referred to as Dreamers) and those who qualify for temporary protected or deferred enforced departure status.
In total, the bill provides a pathway to citizenship for 3.2 million people according to NumbersUSA, a hardline immigration enforcement organization who characterized the bill as amnesty.
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) introduced the bill on March 12 of this year, and it passed the House yesterday with bipartisan support.
Of the 237 votes in support of the bill, seven were Republicans, including Texas Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX-23).
Almost half an hour before the final vote, Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA) moved to send the bill back to the House Judiciary Committee in a motion to recommit (MTR) with the following language:
“Application(s) would be denied based on criminal, national security, gang, or public safety grounds shall be referred by the Secretary of Homeland Security for determination of whether the alien should be placed in removal proceedings under section 240 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.”
Essentially, the GOP language would have amended HR 6 to provide for the use of federal and state databases to deny residence or citizenship eligibility to illegal aliens who are members of criminal gangs.
If an individual were to be denied, they would then be referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation proceedings.
The motion to recommit failed, however, on a 202-221 vote. All those who voted no on the MTR were Democrats, except for Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI).
Ten Democrats voted with Republicans to send the bill back to the Judiciary Committee with the updated language regarding illegal aliens affiliated with criminal gangs. None of the ten Democrats were members of the Texas delegation.
Before the final vote, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18) said, “We’ve introduced over and over again comprehensive immigration reform. We have watched it be refuted and rebutted by those who really could have helped us solve the problem of the surge we are seeing crossing the border today.”
With 144,278 apprehensions reported by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in May alone, the border crisis is seemingly worsening. Indeed, May was the third straight month with over 100,000 apprehensions, seeing a 32 percent increase in illegal alien apprehensions from April.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) spoke against the bill on the floor, calling it “more of the same political theatre.”
“I don’t know how you can look with a straight face at the American people and say that you are actually addressing this concern legitimately,” said Roy to his colleagues on the House floor.
Roy continued, “It matters that we follow the rule of law” and later, “[we] claim to be, in the false name of compassion, concerned about the migrants coming here when we have open borders that are exploiting these kids.”
Last week near Laredo, Hector Garza of the National Border Patrol Council told Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX-27) in a video submitted to The Texan that the people who cross there, “have very serious criminal records, they are bringing drugs, and they are people who do not want to get apprehended. They are not asking for asylum, these people are fighting when we try to catch them.”
Other agents told Cloud that there is no end in sight right now.
While HR 6 ultimately passed 237-187, it stands little chance of being taken up by the Republican-controlled Senate.
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