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Congressmen Gonzalez and Vela to sign Immigration Discharge Petition

June 5, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) will sign Discharge Petition No. 10, forcing Congress to consider several solutions for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients. The Trump Administration announced the termination of the DACA program in September of 2017, leaving DREAMers in limbo as Congress and the Administration tried and failed to reach an agreement. Also signing the discharge petition is Congressman Filemon Vela (TX-34).

As it stands, the petition now has 215 of the required 218 signatures to consider the Queen of the Hill rule for a vote. Only three signatures are now needed to force a vote on this measure. 

The congressman has been hesitant to sign the petition because of the Queen of the Hill rule’s structure, citing concerns that it could open the flood gates for members across the aisle to hold DREAMers hostage in exchange for a border wall. Congressman Gonzalez has been a steadfast advocate for DACA recipients and has co-sponsored various legislative solutions to give these young people a pathway to citizenship. A border wall in the 15th District of Texas would restrict farmers and ranchers’ access to water from the Rio Grande, uproot families from their land, and do little to prevent illicit activity. In fact, several areas in South Texas are experiencing record downturns in crime.

“By signing this discharge petition, I do so with the intent of giving 800,000 young people – young Americans -  peace of mind and the ability to remain in the only country they call home,” Congressman Gonzalez said. “Let me be clear, I will not accept a DACA fix that includes funding for a border wall. It’s unfortunate that we are at this nexus, but the ball is now in the Republicans’ court. And as such, I ask them: ‘What will be your next move?’”

"In consultation with dreamers and their parents, clergy and Bishop Flores in my district, I have decided to sign the discharge petition so that dreamers can get the vote they are asking for,” Congressman Vela said. “I will vote for a clean Dream act but not for any measure that includes border wall funding. Republican moderates claim they have the votes to move their discharge petition forward. ... Let’s see.”

“I am very thankful for the brave action taken today by the Congressional delegation representing the Rio Grande Valley which will help move forward efforts in Congress to protect Dreamers,” Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, Sister Norma Pimentel said. “I have been privileged to see and work alongside these remarkable young people here in the Valley. They work hard and already contribute so much to our communities. They inspire me and make our community better. We must come together and help Dreamers achieve the American Dream.”

“I am encouraged by the decision of the Congressional delegation representing the Rio Grande Valley to support the discharge petition before the U.S. House of Representatives that provides a legislative way forward to protect Dreamers,” Bishop Daniel E. Flores said. “These are difficult times for DACA students, living in uncertainty and fear, and I am hopeful that the decision by our elected representatives will help move Congressional action forward. I urge leaders of both parties to act responsibly and with courage to break the current deadlock in Congress and secure a permanent Congressional solution to the plight of the Dreamers.”