Central Valley Reps. David Valadao of Hanford and Jeff Denham of Turlock are asking House Speaker Paul Ryan to allow the House to consider legislation to protect from deportation the hundreds of thousands of people brought to the country illegally as children.
Many of these so-called Dreamers came forward and underwent background checks, handed over personal data and even their fingerprints after President Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2012. In exchange they got assurances they wouldn't be deported for two years if they follow the law and are working, enrolled in school or serving in the military.
More than a quarter of the estimated 800,000 recipients are thought to live in California. Valadao and Denham were among 10 House Republicans who signed a letter to Ryan, stressing that Congress must find a solution.
"We did not support the way that President Obama established this program and usurped Congressional law making authority. However, these individuals have come forward and provided the federal government with their personal information and biometrics. It would be wrong to go back on our word and subject these individuals to deportation," the Republicans' letter states. "These individuals' status in the United States should not be left to the political winds of different administrations that come to power."
Denham and Valadao represent districts with large Latino populations and are among Democrats' targets in 2018. They joined a handful of Republicans in a recent letter urging President Trump not to end the program, and are co-sponsors of legislation aimed at finding a fix.
Ryan told radio station WCLO in Janesville, Wis., Friday that he didn't think Trump should end the program and that a legislative solution is needed.
"[T]here are people who are in limbo,” Ryan said. “These are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don't know another home."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco sent her own letter to Ryan on Friday, calling his remarks "heartening" and asking him to meet with House Democrats and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about possible legislation when Congress returns next week from the August recess.