WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said congressional Republicans are getting closer to an agreement on immigration reform.
“We just had a very productive conference meeting … members were very engaged and it’s clear that there are a lot of areas of consensus,” Ryan said at a news conference Thursday.
Ryan did not provide specifics but said members of the conference are in general agreement on the four immigration principles the Trump administration has said must be part of any deal.
Earlier this morning House Republicans met for two hours behind closed doors. The meeting was an attempt to stave off a bipartisan effort to make an end-run around 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 protections for the estimated 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
A discharge petition requires 218 signatures. The petition has 215 signatures. If the threshold is met by Monday debate would begin on June 22 pursuant to House rules.
“Time is of the essence if we want to have a legislative process we can control, which means a shot at law, versus what I would call a futile gesture of a discharge petition,” Ryan told reporters.
In February, the Senate defeated a series of bills designed to protect DACA recipients.
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.
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