BY PETER JONES
In the face of controversial actions by President Trump, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, used a legislative maneuver known as a “discharge petition” this week in an attempt to force a floor vote on his own bipartisan immigration bill.
Coffman had introduced the Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream and Grow our Economy or the BRIDGE Act in January with U.S. Rep. Louis Gutierrez, D-Ill.
The move on Aug. 5 came as President Trump announced he would suspend the Obama era’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals for immigrants brought illegally to the United States as children
The BRIDGE Act would extend DACA for another three years to give Congress time to find a permanent solution for such young people who were under 16 upon arrival, have graduated from or are enrolled in high school, and can pass a criminal-background check
An identical version of Coffman’s bill was introduced in January in the Senate.
“I’ve met many of these young people in Colorado who were brought to the United States as children and who grew up here, who went to school here and who often know of no other country,” Coffman said in a statement. “The DACA program has given them an opportunity to come out of the shadows, legally work, and pursue higher education.”
The discharge petition has typically been a tool for members of the minority party against the majority, but not usually by a member of the majority against the leadership of his own party.
“I see the discharge petition as a way to bring legislation to the floor should Republican leadership fail to allow a floor vote on a bill to protect these young people,” Coffman said.
In June 29, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanding that the Trump administration suspend DACA, saying he would otherwise file a lawsuit in a federal court to challenge its constitutionality.
“This is an opportunity for Congress to address the constitutional problem associated with DACA and to protect these young people until a more permanent solution can be found,” Coffman said,
Jason Crow, a candidate in the Democratic primary to unseat Coffman next year, issued a statement calling the Republican’s efforts “a breathtakingly-cynical reelection maneuver,” noting Coffman had voted against the DREAM Act and once called it a “nightmare.”
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