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Ted Cruz Puts Boehner's House Border Bill in Jeopardy

Image: Ted Cruz Puts Boehner's House Border Bill in Jeopardy (David Kent/MCT/Landov)

By Melanie Batley   |   Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 08:18 AM

The House leadership has started debating Thursday on a border security bill to address the immigration crisis, but conservatives, led by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, say they may refuse to sign-on without language that would put an end to what they call the "Obama amnesty" law.

Cruz convened a meeting Wednesday night with 11 rank-and-file House members to try to persuade them to vote against House Speaker John Boehner's version of the bill on the basis that the measure does not defund President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Child Arrivals [DACA] executive order.

The current leadership bill leaves DACA intact but simply prohibits any official policies to expand its scope, a position conservatives say is not acceptable.

Speaker John Boehner gave indications he might give Cruz a concession by adding a vote on a second bill on Thursday.

"I have been speaking with members in both houses who have an interest in my views," Cruz told Reuters late on Wednesday.

The second bill would stop Obama from expanding his 2012 action to suspend deportations of children brought by their parents to the United States before mid-2007.

After the meeting with Cruz, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann suggested she and other conservatives may withhold their support from the current version of the $659 million border bill without stronger language on DACA, Politico reported.

Their refusal to sign-on could jeopardize the chances of the bill's passage, though a number of Democrats have said they would support the bill, according to Politico.

"There is support for the DACA fix," Bachmann told Politico. "I think you will see the DACA-fix bill pass."

Iowa Rep. Steve King, Texas Rep Louie Gohmert, and Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon were also among those at the meeting.

Cruz believes that 2012 DACA law, which allows the president to issue work permits to people in the country illegally, is "the direct and proximate cause" of the current crisis, and argues that any House bill should prevent the future implementation of DACA, according to Breitbart.

"The only way to stop the border crisis is to stop Obama's amnesty. It is disappointing the border security legislation unveiled today does not include language to end Obama's amnesty," Cruz said Tuesday. "Congress cannot hope to solve this problem without addressing the fundamental cause of it."

In an interview Wednesday on Fox News' "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren," Cruz went a step further saying, "If you're granting amnesty to people who come as kids, other kids will come."

Even with the new DACA strategy put into the legislation, some conservatives Wednesday still weren't satisfied, according to Politico. Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks said the measures still don’t provide adequate border security, and Iowa Rep. King wants tougher asylum language.

The leadership's ability to seal a deal is now down to the wire, as the House adjourns Friday for a five-week recess.

Meanwhile, Cruz said he has introduced a two-page bill in the Senate that says the president does not have authority to grant amnesty to any new illegal immigrants.

"We should have done our basic job a long time ago," he said.

Meanwhile, in order for Boehner's bill to pass without full support of all Republicans, Democrats would have to vote for the measure. That seemed iffy, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi saying the GOP would be on its own.

Pelosi said Democrats weren't necessarily on board. according to The Hill.

"Let me put it this way: The Democrats are not going to enable that bill to pass. That's the number that we're interested in," Pelosi said. "They [Republicans] are going to have to do that on their own."

Related stories:

Boehner Plan Exposes GOP Rift on Border Crisis

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