WASHINGTON – House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said he believes congressional Republicans can find common ground on immigration reform.
“I feel good about the kind of conversations we’re having,” Ryan said in response to a question at a news conference on Wednesday.
“Our members are earnest and sincere in trying to understand each other’s perspectives. We have a big swath of views within our conference on this issue and I really do believe that there’s a sweet spot here.”
Ryan refused to say what the sweet spot might entail.
Ryan’s remarks come just one day before congressional Republicans are scheduled to meet behind closed doors to discuss the issue. The meeting is designed to stave-off a bipartisan effort to make an end-run around House GOP leaders.
Twenty-three Republicans have joined Democrats in signing a discharge petition to force debate on a series of immigration bills that would provide protection for the estimated 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
A discharge petition requires 218 signatures. The petition reportedly has 213 signatures. If the threshold is met debate would begin on June 22 pursuant to House rules.
In February, the Senate defeated a series of bills designed to protect DACA recipients.
DACA was set to expire on March 5 but a federal injunction has extended the program beyond that date. In April, a federal judge ruled that the administration must continue to process DACA applications.
DACA is an Obama administration program that allows children of undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. for a period of time so long as they meet certain requirements such as attending school, working, or serving in the military.