Rarely-Used Procedural Maneuver Could Bring DACA Vote to House Floor

May 11, 2018

If a bipartisan group of House members gathers 218 signatures on a "discharge petition," House leadership would be compelled to hold a vote on a few immigration measures that would, in different ways, rescue or extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

HR Policy and several Association members are supporting the move through the efforts of the Coalition for the American Dream, which sent a letter to the Hill urging members to back the petition.  The letter reads, “For months now, the lives of over 800,000 Dreamers have been hanging in the balance, while thousands of American businesses have faced the uncertainty of disruptions in the workforce and the loss of valuable talent because Congress has failed to act." 

Long live the queen: The House procedure that would be triggered by a successful discharge petition, known as the "queen-of-the-hill" rule, means that whichever proposal garners the most votes carries the day.  The bills that could be considered are the Securing America’s Future Act, the DREAM Act, the USA Act, and a bill of Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) choice.

Compounding uncertainty plagues DACA recipients and employers as multiple federal injunctions and a recent Texas lawsuit to counteract the injunctions continue to percolate in the courts.  With respect to prospective outcomes and timelines, the possibilities are nearly endless, though many expect the issue to end up at the Supreme Court within a year. 

H-1B visa developments: The Trump administration pushed back the publication of several H-1B-related rule proposals by several months in its Spring 2018 Regulatory Agenda.  The proposals included:

  • Revising the definitions of "specialty occupation" and "employment and employer-employee relationship," and adding additional wage requirements, now expected January 2019.

  • Elimination of a program that extends employment authorization to spouses of H-1B workers, now expected June 2018.

  • Establishing an electronic registration program for petitions subject to numerical limitations for the H-1B visa, now expected July 2018.