Pressure grew this week in the House of Representatives to debate legislation protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation.  The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) was created in 2012 by then-President Barack Obama, giving temporary legal status to immigrants brought illegally into the United States by their parents or relatives when they were children.

President Donald Trump has previously declared DACA “dead.”  In September, the president announced he was ending the program, effective March 5.  However a court has ordered the program to continue for existing beneficiaries until legal challenges to its termination are resolved.

A bipartisan group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers scheduled a press conference on Wednesday to discuss their plans to force debate in the full House on a few different proposals to assist the estimated 800,000 immigrants.  The bipartisan group announced that they have more than 218 House members on board with moving head with a bipartisan bill, which is the minimum number need in the 435-member House to pass bills.

Republicans have been deeply divided on immigration legislation, despite polling that shows a significant majority of voters want to help immigrants who crossed into the United States illegally through no fault of their own.

Supporters of the bill are reportedly aimed at pressuring House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to move to either bring legislation to the House floor or to intensify high-level negotiations on crafting a new compromise bill.  “We continue to work to find the support for a solution that addresses both border security and DACA,” said Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong.  If Ryan were to refuse to bring legislation to the floor, the bill’s supporters could use a rarely used procedure to force action, if they have at least 218 backers.

The House could debate the bipartisan bill, along with two or three other alternatives.  A similar debate played out in the Senate last February, with all the measures failing to win enough votes to advance.