Aurora congressman Mike Coffman among 34 House Republicans pressing Paul Ryan on DACA
Dec. 05--U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman and 33 other House Republicans are pressing Speaker Paul Ryan to find a legislative solution for the 800,000 young immigrants living in the U.S. unlawfully who were brought here as children and are now in limbo after President Donald Trump's decision to rescind their protected status.
"There's no question," the Aurora Republican told The Denver Post on Tuesday, "my heart is out to these young people who were brought here as children, who grew up here, who went to school here, who know no other country other than the United States."
The group of GOP lawmakers sent a letter Tuesday to Ryan, who has said he does not see a need to act before March, the deadline Trump gave Congress to find a permanent solution for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients.
There are an estimated 17,000 DACA recipients in Colorado alone, many of whom, Coffman says, are in his district.
"We must pass legislation that protects DACA recipients from deportation and gives them the opportunity to apply for a more secured status in our country as soon as possible," the lawmakers wrote in the letter. "Reaching across the aisle to protect DACA recipients before the holidays is the right thing to do."
Democrats in the House and Senate, including from Colorado's congressional delegation, have for months been calling for a solution for DACA recipients.
Now, this similar show of support from Republicans, including some from competitive House districts (like Coffman's), complicates some of the end-of-the-year negotiations to keep the government open.
Some of the 34 signatories had already made the same request when they held a news conference last month.
Several House Democrats have said they won't support a critical spending bill this month needed to keep the government open unless the issue is resolved.
Coffman said he is prepared to collect the 218 signatures he needs to force a vote on his so-called "BRIDGE Act," that would extend protections for DACA recipients for three years, if March approaches and lawmakers have yet to find a permanent solution. He didn't give a deadline for when that would be.
"I think that the time has come for us to deal with this issue," he said. "The clock is really ticking. There is a March deadline to get this done. ... I'm still optimistic that we are going to get something done."
Coffman says he has been working with a bipartisan group of House members -- known as the Problem Solvers Caucus -- on a permanent solution to DACA recipients, but that a compromise on border security that Trump is requiring has been slow going.
"We're trying to come to a bipartisan agreement," he said. "It is more challenging than agreeing on the first part, (which is what to do about a permanent solution for DACA recipients)."
The House Republicans sent their letter while activists held several events Tuesday -- they plan more this week -- to push for a DACA vote before the Christmas break later this month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.