Republicans blindsided by Trump opposition to immigration plan

Erika Holt
June 19, 2018

President Trump's comments Friday dismissing a Republican compromise immigration bill that includes a provision meant to stop family separation at the US border rocked Capitol Hill, scuttling Republican leaders' plans to gauge support for the proposal Friday and potentially tanking its chances on the House floor in a vote tentatively planned for next week.

"It is totally unacceptable, for any reason, to purposely separate minor children from their parents", said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, who, along with Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo is leading negotiations on a compromise all-Republican immigration bill in Congress.

The Trump administration has long expressed its support for the Goodlatte bill, but GOP leaders have said it doesn't have the support to pass the House.

House Republicans released an immigration proposal Thursday evening, pitched as a "compromise" between hardliners and moderates - but in reality, the bill makes sweeping changes to the immigration system.

In a further confusing note, Trump added, "I need a bill that gives this country tremendous border security. I have to have that". Even supporters of the more conservative bill say it is not likely to pass the House.

President Trump will be making a rare trip up Pennsylvania Avenue next week as a "special guest" at an additional House GOP Member Conference meeting to talk about immigration, a GOP source confirmed.

"This bill is an amnesty for the parents of DACAs as well", said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which supports restricting immigration.

Spotlighting the political sensitivity of the issue, congressional Republicans have distanced themselves from the Trump administration's policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., or "something more moderate", and asked whether he'd sign "either one".

Yet, Goodlatte's legislation, also known as the Securing America's Future Act, offers no pathways to citizenship, just a three-year renewable protection program.

"Mrs Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform", spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said.

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"I say it's very strongly the Democrats' fault", Trump said Monday as his administration rejected criticism that the policy has resulted in inhuman and immoral conditions.

Schumer's NY constituents include numerous investors who stand to gain when legal immigration lowers payroll costs and boosts revenues.

The controversial policy enacted by the White House had been meant to be a deterrent by persuading those who were considering trying to cross the border - even if they were seeking asylum in the U.S.by fleeing violence in their home country - not to do so. The Department of Homeland Security confirmed Friday that almost 2,000 children have been separated from their parents between April 19 and May 31.

Under the policy rolled out in April by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, anyone who crosses into the United States illegally will face criminal prosecution.

"The separation of illegal alien families is the product of the same legal loopholes that Democrats refuse to close, and these laws are the same that have been on the books for over a decade".

Sessions has defended the policy and said it will deter illegal border crossings.

"No, I am not" comfortable with it, he told reporters.

Yesterday, President Trump again blamed the Democrats for the problem. "The Democrats have to change their law".

The "compromise" bill released Thursday would allow an estimated 1.8 million "Dreamers" to apply for "nonimmigrant status"- essentially a conditional legal visa - if they meet certain conditions.

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