The petition was filed Wednesday by Reps.
The lawmakers are hoping use a discharge petition, sponsored by Florida Republican Carlos Curbelo, that would allow them to circumvent House Speaker Paul Ryan's tight grip on the legislative process. "So I'm going to force the issue", Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., a leader of the effort to force immigration votes, said in an interview.
Democrats couldn't ht the required 218 signatures to vote on a Dreamer bill, which would grant not only protection from deportation but citizenship to young immigrants who entered this country illegally as children.
"We never want to turn the floor over to the minority", he said. "The people that told me said that it didn't change their mind". "He just told us that he didn't think this was the best way to proceed".
At least 17 House Republicans are bucking their party leaders to try and force a vote on immigration legislation that would break a stalemate over the fate of as many as 1.3 million young undocumented immigrants. Ryan had been pushing members to focus on crafting an immigration bill that Trump could support.
If all Democrats sign on, it would still take about two dozen Republicans. Under House rules, the earliest the chamber would vote on the group's proposal is late June.
Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said on Wednesday that GOP leaders would "continue to work with our members to find a solution that can both pass the House and get the president's signature".
Denham introduced a legislative version of his proposal in March and had 248 co-sponsors, including virtually all Democrats and more than 50 Republicans.
Mr. Ryan and fellow Republican leaders have reason to be concerned, given some 30 to 40 other Republicans have previously signaled they wanted to see the debate happen, creating a pool of likely candidates to sign the discharge petition.
President Trump announced past year that he planned to revoke protections for roughly 700,000 of those immigrants who filed under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Bob Goodlatte, would make existing DACA recipients eligible for a three-year renewable permit to live and work in the U.S. Other Dreamers, however, would not be eligible. The legislation with the most votes would be sent to the U.S. Senate.
A conservative House bill would let DACA's "Dreamer" recipients stay in the USA temporarily, but also reduce legal immigration, allow construction of Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico and crack down on "sanctuary cities" that don't cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Supporters of the petition say they are exhausted of waiting for leaders to act on immigration and are willing to resort to unusual steps to get their way. "My rule is about coming together in a bipartisan manner to find a compromise on a permanent solution for America's Dreamers and responsible border security". Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., would offer a way for "Dreamers" to remain in the USA legally but would not offer citizenship.
Trump has said he won't sign new immigration protections without funding for the wall and greater border security.
For the fourth bill, Ryan could offer any plan he wants.