House Leaders Derail Plan To Force Vote On Bipartisan Immigration Bills

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, with other Democratic lawmakers who took to the streets Wednesday to protest the Trump administration’s border enforcement policies that have restricted asylum claims and separated immigrant families. (Photo by Bryan Pietsch/Cronkite News)

By Bryan Pietsch

WASHINGTON – House leaders this week derailed an attempt by Democrats and moderate Republicans to force a vote on a bipartisan package of immigration reform bills, announcing instead that they will bring two Republican bills to the floor.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday after a meeting of House Republicans that they had come together and compromised on a measure that he thinks has a better chance of becoming law than the package of bills being pushed in a “discharge petition.”

That petition – which would force a floor vote if 218 members signed on – was two signatures shy of success Tuesday when Ryan engineered the alternative plan. Ryan said Wednesday that if a discharge petition were exercised, Congress would “never make law.”

“The last thing I want to do is bring a bill out of here that I know the president won’t support,” said Ryan, who added that House leaders have been working closely with the White House on a measure that the president can support.

Ryan said the bills he will advance include a bill co-sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, and Rep. Martha McSally, R-Tucson, along with 97 others, and a “compromise” proposal that has yet to be finalized.

But Democrats blasted the Goodlatte-McSally bill, which had been pushed by the conservative Freedom Caucus. That bill would boost border and interior enforcement, target visa overstays and limit family migration – derided by conservative critics as “chain migration” – among other proposals.

“Now we have the Goodlatte-McSally bill, which is an abomination that has nothing to do with anything other than more punitive enforcement,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson. “So I’m opposed to that.”

-Cronkite News video by Pat Poblete

Grijalva said he is “almost certain” that the compromise bill Ryan has promised to bring up will end up being a “Frankenstein kind of creation.”

“It’s really, really sad that we have an opportunity on a bill that has already been compromised and negotiated – to drop that and not have a chance to vote on that,” Grijalva said of one of the bills that could have been brought for a vote with the discharge petition.

McSally’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Just hours after the Republican caucus Wednesday, angry Democratic lawmakers took to the streets of Washington to protest the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on border enforcement.

Under that policy, immigrant parents and children who try to enter the country illegally can be separated. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday that the Justice Department would no longer accept asylum claims based on a “credible fear” that immigrants would fall victim to domestic violence or gang violence if returned to their home countries.

The protesters marched from Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue to the offices of Customs and Border Protection, where they sat down in front of the entrance and were threatened with arrest. The protest broke up after three hours with no arrests, but lawmakers and advocates declared victory.

“I’ve been asked a lot of times why are we doing this,” Grijalva said as he marched with the protesters. “Well, you know, based on Sessions on asylum … based on the separation of moms and their children, it’s important that we highlight that that’s not who we are.”

-Cronkite News reporter Pat Poblete contributed to this report.


  1. Hey Raul, you ILLEGAL loving bitch, just STFU and fade away, but no you can’t. You are no different that little Johnnie McCain. Its never been about the good of the country, its always been about you good and the good of the ILLEGALS who are taking billions of dollars from US taxpayers and giving nothing back. Only the best and brightest right Raul??? Though so. Deport them all. They deserve nothing more and build the freeking wall.

  2. Why do supposed legitimate news outlets give credence to Communist lawmakers like Raul Grijalva? Those who follow him are either outright stupid, completely naive, or believe in his insane political ideology. I’d venture a guess and say that many news writers are all-of-the- above.

  3. I’ve been asked a lot of times why are we doing this,” Grijalva said as he marched with the protesters. “Well, you know, based on Sessions on asylum … based on the separation of moms and their children, it’s important that we highlight that that’s not who we are.”
    If that’s not who you are, then you are enemies of the state, you are politicos for another country and put their interests before the citizens of the United States. In my mind that’s treason. Why you have not been charged is beyond my understanding of the law.

  4. One question for Raul. If he and the other liberals feel so strongly about protecting these “immigrants”, why was nothing done when they controlled the House, Senate and had Bad Oder in the White House. If you all really cared, something could have been done a long time ago! Just like your daughter cares so much about the children of TUSD.

    • You think this is bad? Wait until his daughter takes his seat!! If we’re not careful that’s exactly what may happen.

  5. Thankfully Rep. Rãul Graftjalva (D) Sonora, was once again totally focused on doing what’s always best for his constituents back home.
    After all who could better safeguard the greater good for the nation then representative Rãul for supporting the boosting of both border and interior enforcement, greater targeting of visa overstays and limit family chain migration.
    News flash Rãul, these aren’t new laws, it’s just more legislation to enforce already existing laws, something Mexico’s first congressman simply won’t support.
    As we said two failed elections ago, it doesn’t take a rocket scientists. Rãul just needs to be jailed and forgotten.

    The Oracle

  6. About time for a real check on how much funds ellected members of State and Federal Offices are getting from illegals plus who is backing them. Any news outlet willing to post any findings or even willing to look into it?

  7. Hey — how about letting our elected officials, whether we like them or not, do their job and vote?

    • Hey – your team lost. You lost the House, you lost the Senate, you lost the Governorships and the Presidency.

      You lost, get over it. LPSC (Liberalism/progressivism/socialism/communism) has been thoroughly repudiated by the American people.

    • @ Albert, your objection is spot on, but as I stated before, these are existing laws already on the books that weren’t being enforced. These new laws are simply closing judicial loop holes.
      So like you, and the rest of the nation, I’m waiting for my elected officials to do their job and enforce the laws they’ve already passed.
      The hypocrisy of the left to protest any new laws, all while ignoring and subverting our existing laws is very revealing for job performance.
      Yes, I guess we will all be waiting a very long time for that happen.

      The Oracle

  8. Deport. The options are clear. All you had to do multiple times was go do paperwork and register. Ignoring it and not doing the paperwork is the result of deportations. Breaking the law is a violation as well for deportation. I have done the paperwork so I don’t want to hear any excuses. Do the paperwork and don’t break any laws. Welcome to America.

  9. What does it say to readers when an article begins with a lie? Bryan Pietsch writes that House leaders derailed an attempt by Democrats and Republicans to bring a bipartisan package of immigration reform bills to the floor for a vote. This is not true. The reason the so-called bipartisan bills will not be voted on is because the discharge petition necessary to bring the bills to the House floor for a vote lacks the necessary signatures. That is, it lacks a majority of House members support. This House rule is of long standing and is nothing more than doing business based on the principle of majority rule. IF THE SIGNATURES NECESSARY TO BRING THE BILLS GRIJALVA FAVORS IS ACHIEVED, THE BILLS WILL BE VOTED UPON BY THE HOUSE. PERIOD BTW, when Americans are detained by law enforcement, they are not allowed to keep their children with them in detention facilities. Why should illegal immigrants be treated any differently? The Democrats and some Republicans say it is cruel to separate a child from the parent for the purpose of detaining the parent but the parent must bear the main responsibility for putting their children in such circumstances, not the government?

    • @ Luke quoting anything coming out from Cronkite News is paramount to quoting the national enquire.
      Cronkite News is little more then a looney left wing propaganda machine masquerading as a real legitimate media outlet.
      But sadly this occurs in title only, poor Walter Cronkites name is only added for room decor, it should never be mistaken to add credence to this den of lying sin..
      It’s a constamt theme of lies, half truths and omissions.
      Consider the source!

      The Oracle

  10. Been watching the news and the left has to bring up ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION since Mr Trump has made them look what they really are. Idiots, he made progress with North Korea and they cant stand that and they CANNOT DECRY the political progress of trump in the matter. So what do they do, they look for anything that they can to bring him down and this is the only thing out there and the MSM is in full stride support of the left.

    If they would support the man and what he is trying to do (support the american people) and give him the due credit then all would be good, but that is counter to their AGENDA. Read the article on socialism in the USA and the works of bho.

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