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House Democrats Introduce Discharge Petition To Force A Vote On Immigration Reform


by: Omar Araiza

Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT


House Democrats came together Wednesday to reignite the debate on immigration reform, introducing a discharge petition against the House Republican leadership, attempting to force Republicans to finally issue a vote on immigration.

"Enough is enough, and Democrats are demanding a vote. It is time for Republicans to stop catering to the most extreme, anti-immigrant wing of their caucus, and allow a vote on the bipartisan immigration reform our nation so urgently needs," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

If Democrats are able to gather 218 signatures, the procedural rule will force Speaker John Boehner to call for a vote on the immigration reform bill introduced by the Democrats last year. The bill has also been co-sponsored by three other Republican House members.

Read more on the discharge petition, including statements made by Texas Democrats Joaquin Castro and Marc Veasey, below the jump.

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While House Democrats have been frank about the long-shot possibility of their petition succeeding without support by Republicans, their new move brings attention back to the immigration reform debate, and further proves Republicans are the ones unwilling to settle the matter.

A recent poll conducted by the Texas Republican firm, Baselice & Associates, and paid for by Partnership for a New American Economy, shows Republicans don't have anything to fear by passing immigration reform. Voter turnout in their conservative base will not experience any significant drop. Now, concerning the mobilization by Latinos and Democrats against their failed leadership? That's a whole different story Republicans should most definitely be worried about.

At this point, immigration advocates and the Democratic House minority have exhausted their options to bring reform up for a vote on the floor. If Republicans fail to support immigration, it is up to voters in this year's midterm elections to bring about change in the House leadership in order to get reform passed.

"Immigration reform is the right thing to do for our economy, our security, and our future. A vast majority of the American people agree. The only thing standing in the way is the unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to catch up with the rest of the country," said President Obama, regarding the House Democrats' efforts.

Below are other statements made by Congressmen Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) and Marc Veasey (D-Fort Worth), who were present in the unveiling of the petition:

CASTRO CHALLENGES IMMIGRATION REFORM STONEWALL, DEMANDS VOTE

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Washington, D.C- Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-TX) released the following statement upon the House Democrats announcement of a Discharge Petition on H.R 15, the bipartisan Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act:

"Today, I'm proud to join my House colleagues in filing a discharge petition on immigration reform on behalf of the American people. Folks from all ends of the political spectrum, across industries and regions have demanded Congress to fix our broken immigration system. This procedural move is a way to allow the 20 or so Republicans who have publicly said that they support comprehensive reform to join with Democrats and get a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. This discharge petition will allow all of us who support fixing our immigration system to challenge the inside-beltway politics that are preventing us from even taking a vote on this bill.

Momentum for immigration reform is only going to grow and we should use every tool at our disposal to ensure the House has the chance to vote on this important legislation. Just yesterday, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reaffirmed what we've known all along, immigration reform would slash our deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars and create jobs. The time is now to grow our economy and spur innovation, welcome folks out of the shadows, and ensure our borders are secure."

Background:
A discharge petition needs support from the majority of Congressional Representatives in order for a bill to be sent to the full U.S House for a vote. The number today is 218.

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Congressman Veasey Demands a Vote on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Joins fellow House Democrats to announce and sign a discharge petition to demand Speaker Boehner to bring H.R. 15 to the floor for a vote

Washington D.C. - Congressman Marc Veasey, TX-33, released the following statement after joining fellow House Democrats in announcing and signing a discharge petition to demand Speaker Boehner to bring H.R. 15, the bipartisan Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, to the House floor for a vote.

"Today more than ever, Americans know that our immigration system is broken and demand a common sense solution that reflects both our interests and values as a nation. The Republican House Leadership can no longer dismiss the 11 million aspiring citizens who only want to be reunited with their families and to pursue their passions from out of the shadows.

Here in the House, H.R. 15 echoes the spirit of the bipartisan Senate bill and upholds many of our basic principles. By bringing H.R. 15 to the floor for a vote we can protect our workers, reunite families, offer hardworking immigrants an earned pathway to citizenship, secure our borders, and even boost our economy.

Reducing the national deficit, creating jobs and improving the economy are American's top priorities right now. Research shows that immigrant workers help grow the economy, leading to lower unemployment and higher wages for those of us already here. The recently released study by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) proves that should H.R. 15 pass the House of Representatives today, we have the ability to reduce the deficit by $900 billion over the next two decades.

This discharge petition is a true litmus test for my colleagues across the aisle to see who in fact wants to fix our broken immigration system and who has fallen prey to partisan politics. For the families and communities that continue to be torn apart, doing nothing is no longer an option. The time is now. It's time to sign the discharge petition and vote in favor of H.R. 15."

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