WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday warned a small group of his fellow Republicans against forcing a floor debate on four separate bills that would protect young illegal immigrants from deportation, saying doing so would be a “big mistake.”
Instead, Ryan said he was working with the White House on a singular bill that would win President Donald Trump’s support. At a press conference, Ryan did not provide details or a timetable for advancing such legislation.
So far, 18 of the House’s 235 Republicans have signed a petition aimed at forcing a wide-ranging immigration debate and votes on the House floor.
They aim to join forces with Democrats to pull off the rare procedural trick that would go against Ryan’s will. Some of the 18 are retiring, while some others are moderates seeking re-election in November and represent districts with a significant number of Hispanics.
Meanwhile, Ryan also faced a revolt from the other wing of his party, as the very conservative House Freedom Caucus threatened to withhold their votes on an unrelated farm bill later this week unless Ryan agrees to bring to the floor a tough bill that would clamp down on legal immigration.
That measure, backed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, also would give temporary protections to the young “Dreamer” immigrants who were brought into the United States illegally when they were children.
Reporting By Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Susan Thomas