House Republicans from heavily Hispanic districts are bucking party leadership on President Barack Obama's deferred deportation program for illegal immigrants, The Hill
California Rep. Jeff Denham is leading the effort to allow some type of legal status for illegals who came to the country as children. They also should be allowed to serve in the military, the group says, and successfully included language to that effect into a defense bill scheduled to come to the floor this week.
"While I prefer broader action on immigration reform, this is a positive step forward to help those who want to protect our sacred liberties," Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo told The Hill.
Curbelo and Denham have co-sponsored a bill that would give legal status in exchange for military service.
Conservatives are fighting back, with Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks submitting an amendment to block the military service provision. Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar's amendment would get rid of a provision directing the Pentagon to explore how "Dreamers" could possibly expand the recruitment pool and aid military readiness.
Curbelo's plan was blocked last year, and is likely to be blocked again, The Hill reported.
Brooks and 24 other House GOP members have sent a letter to the House Rules Committee requesting Curbelo's amendment be removed before it even gets to the floor.
"Anyone who supports taking American jobs and military service opportunities from Americans and lawful immigrants is betraying the American citizens they claim to represent," the lawmakers argued in their letter.
Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego was critical of Brooks' letter, saying the issue should be taken up by the entire body and not killed through a "weird procedure" that would "go against the spirit of Congress."
Brooks countered that the amendments could complicate the must-pass defense bill and "put illegal aliens on a pedestal above American citizens."
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