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California in Congress

Darrell Issa among Republicans now pushing for quick DACA fix

 (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) joined about a dozen Republican House members from across the country on Thursday to urge House leaders to find a fast solution for the hundreds of thousands of people brought to the country illegally as children.

"It is time for people to come to the middle ... in a way that hasn't always been the case," Issa told reporters.

Democrats and Republicans are working behind the scenes on a replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and a variety of ideas are being discussed. Other Senate Republicans have said they don't plan to address the legal status of DACA recipients before the end of the year.

An estimated 200,000 of the nearly 800,000 DACA recipients live in California, giving the Golden State an outsized stake in resolving their legal status. President Trump announced in September he would end the program and gave Congress until March to come up with a legislative fix for DACA recipients.

On Wednesday, several California Democrats joined colleagues in saying they will not help Republicans pass the spending bill to keep the government open, which has to pass by Dec. 8, if a legislative fix for DACA recipients is not in the offing. 

Issa said people should question members of Congress who say they won't support a bill without an increase in border enforcement or have other demands.

"Ask the question of 435 members of the House: Where are you? Are you willing to get off of the enforcement first? And are you willing to get off of the all-or-nothing? Because both are signs of people who are not willing to stand with the rest of us here today and make a difference in these young people's lives, a difference that has been overdue for at least the 17 years that I have been here," he said.

Issa voted against a legislative fix for DACA recipients, called the Dream Act, when it passed the House in 2010. The bill's failure to pass the Senate was part of what prompted President Obama to create the DACA program in 2014.

Issa, who is considered one of the most vulnerable House Republicans in the 2018 midterm election, is the third California Republican who has urged House leadership to find a DACA fix. Vulnerable Central Valley Reps. David Valadao of Hanford and Jeff Denham of Turlock have signed on as co-sponsors of a new version of the Dream Act, the Democrats' preferred DACA replacement.

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