WASHINGTON — House Democrats deployed a little-used legislative move Wednesday to force a vote on a comprehensive immigration bill, an effort doomed to fail but designed to increase the election-year pressure on Republicans to act.
‘‘It is time for us to have a vote,’’ said Representative Xavier Becerra, Democrat of California, who joined with dozens of Democrats, advocates, and actress America Ferrera to mark 273 days since the Senate passed a bipartisan bill. They insisted that House Republican leaders act.
Proponents said they had the necessary votes in the House for a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally and tighten border security.
‘‘We’re tired of the House of Representatives leaders and their refusal to act,’’ Ferrera said.
Democrats introduced a discharge petition that requires the signature of 218 for legislative action, an effort that stands little chance of success as Republicans, even those supportive of immigration legislation, are unwilling to defy their leadership.
After months of conciliatory talk, President Obama issued a statement praising the Democratic effort and chastising the Republicans.
‘‘Immigration reform is the right thing to do for our economy, our security and our future,’’ Obama said. ‘‘A vast majority of the American people agree.