Congress

Some Republicans snubbed the many Dreamers in their districts

GOP lawmakers with sizable DACA constituencies voted against a bill to help them

Texas Rep. Kenny Marchant has about 14,300 people in his district who are eligible for a path to citizenship through the DACA program. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Most Republican representatives with a lot of beneficiaries of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program lost their seats in November, among them Texas’ Pete Sessions and John Culberson and California’s David Valadao and Jeff Denham.

So there was pressure on those remaining when the House voted June 4 on HR 6 which would codify and expand Obama’s DACA program. Still, the bill, which offers a path to citizenship not only for those immigrants brought to the country illegally when they were children but also those already granted temporary protected status because of unsafe conditions in their homelands, drew only seven Republican votes in passing 237-187.

35689

Leading the group of Republicans who represent many who would benefit, but still voted no, was Peter T. King, who’s in his 14th term representing a Long Island district that is home to thousands of Central American immigrants.

King has proposed his own plan to help the Dreamers and those in the country with temporary protected status while also providing funding for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall and increased border security. In March, he announced with New York Democrat Tom Suozzi that they would soon introduce a bill. But neither has yet, and Suozzi, who represents a neighboring district, voted for the Democrats’ bill earlier this month.

Among the others voting no, even as the bill would help many constituents, was freshman Republican Daniel Crenshaw, who represents Houston and some of its suburbs and who replaced the retiring Republican Ted Poe this year.

Crenshaw was forthright about his reasoning in voting against helping them, releasing one of his “Here’s the Truth” videos to explain. He said he wanted to aid the Dreamers, but that he wanted any bill doing so to also tackle “the crisis at the border” and to revamp the asylum system, which allows entry to immigrants facing persecution in their home countries.

He also said the Democrats’ bill didn’t do enough to require people seeking entry into the program to prove that they are, in fact, Dreamers. “This really isn’t a fix for Dreamers,” he said. “It is pure amnesty.”

From the archives: Why are the Dreamers called the Dreamers?

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone.