House GOP leaders are warning rebellious Republicans that forcing roll calls on immigration could damage the party by weakening conservatives' enthusiasm for voting in this fall's midterm elections.
House Speaker Paul Ryan opposes that effort and is seeking a bill that can pass Congress and get President Donald Trump's signature. At a press conference, Ryan did not provide details or a timetable for advancing such legislation.
Ryan in a closed-door meeting on Wednesday sought to discourage fellow Republicans from signing a measure that would force an immigration vote, members leaving the meeting said.
They aim to join forces with Democrats to pull off the rare procedural trick that would go against Ryan's will. California Rep. Jeff Denham said backers of the petition remain confident they have "more than enough votes".
One of the four immigration bills, a bipartisan measure, would put the young "Dreamer" immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally when they were children, on a path to citizenship.
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.
Last September, Trump announced he was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created in 2012 by then-President Barack Obama. It has protected some 800,000 of the young immigrants from deportation, allowing them to study and work in the United States under temporary protection. But he has given conflicting statements on precisely what he would support and Congress missed a March 5 deadline for sending him a bill.
"I want you to know that DACA has helped me".