Recently, a petition with nearly 200 U.S. representatives' signatures has been offered as a way to push a vote for comprehensive immigration reform. This type of document is known as a “discharge petition” and is not used very often. If all goes as planned, a vote may be forced.
The 190 names include all but nine individuals from the House Democratic Caucus. Of those nine Democrats who have not signed the discharge petition, two are co-sponsors of the bill it would reference: H.R. 15. These two are Peter Visclosky from Indiana and Tim Ryan from Ohio. ThinkProgress.org was told by a Ryan spokeman that although he has not “physically signed” the petition, he completely supports it and will sign it soon. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Visclosky declined to offer any comments on the Democrat's plans.
That leaves seven other Democrats who have chosen to not sign the discharge petition or H.R. 15. One is Rep. Filemon Vela of Texas, who is against H.R. 15 because he does not agree with “tying a pathway to citizenship to border security metrics.” The others include Reps. John Barrow from Georgia, Dan Lipinski from Illinois, Collin Peterson from Minnesota, Mike McIntyre from North Carolina, Nick Rahall from West Virginia and Jim Mathewson from Utah. None of these Democrats have made a public comment as to why they have not signed the discharge petition or what their future plans may be.
Meanwhile, only three House Republicans have signed on as co-sponsors to H.R. 15. Although they have signed H.R. 15, Reps. David Valadao and Jeff Denham of California and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, they have all come out to say that they will not sign their names to the discharge petition.
As ThinkProgress.org explained, although it is unique for “members of the majority party to sign a discharge petition to overrule their party leadership, it does happen on occasion.” In 2002, a situation occurred where 20 House Republicans aligned with 197 Democrats and 1 Independent to impose a vote related to campaign finance reform. Further, as recently as 2013, a similar petition was introduced that spoke to a budget resolution. Another petition was drawn up last year by a handful of conservative Republicans who wanted an investigation done on the 2012 attack in Benghazi.
While the idea of immigration reform is nothing new, it is extremely important. As an immigration lawyer in southern Arizona, I see first-hand how current laws affect immigrants in Arizona. When dealing with immigration matters, it is important to consult with an immigration professional who understands the laws and can help advise you on your best options.
The laws related to immigration policy and procedure are often complex and can be confusing. Do not think that you have to figure everything out on your own. My associates and I have helped many people in the area and would be happy to meet with you to discuss your legal issues. Do not hesitate to give us a call.