I’m not signing the compromise House immigration bill

Sergio Conner
June 19, 2018

President Donald Trump ended Republicans' hopes of putting an immigration bill on his desk, dismissing the House GOP compromise bill as too moderate and something he would "certainly" not sign into law.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, the person said.

In a document drafted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, both bills provide protections to so-called DREAMers, children who were brought into this country illegally as children but have been afforded protections from deportation thanks to the constitutionally shaky Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program initiated by the Obama White House.

If House Republicans actually wanted to put a stop to the Trump administration's inhumane separation of immigrant families, they could both pressure Sessions to reverse his new policy or advance a standalone, one-sentence bill that ends the Justice Department's "zero tolerance" plan with no strings attached.

The official said the president believed the interviewer, Steve Doocy, was referring to a separate push by Republican moderates to force a floor vote on a number of immigration bills - not the comprise bill negotiated by the party's conservative and moderate wings, with the White House's input.

Instead, the GOP bill removes existing legal protections for children in detention, effectively allowing the Trump administration to indefinitely detain families who are awaiting court decisions. The measure would additionally reduce family-based migration.

House Republican leaders plan to whip support for the compromise measure later Friday.

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The reversal came after hours of confusion on Capitol Hill, where Trump's words roiled an already fragile internal debate between conservative and moderate House Republicans who have been trying to find an immigration compromise after months of false starts. Authored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), it would drastically cut legal immigration like family-based immigration and a visa lottery. He made the comment Friday after Mr. Trump told reporters that he won't sign a "moderate" bill. "You know it's nearly like we're liberating towns, it's incredible", said Trump who lauded the job that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is doing. White House press staff refused to comment late Thursday afternoon on whether or not the president would stand by the four pillars he has set and oppose Ryan's bill if it fails to meet those four pillars.

To put it bluntly, at this point they don't trust what Trump tells them, so Trump will have some selling to do to give the moderate bill - which has the best chance of passing the House - a boost. In a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday, 55 percent of Republicans said they support the policy of separating children from their parents if some families seeking asylum crossed the border illegally, later requesting asylum.

Democrats and other opponents of the administration's policy say that case is not the root of the problem, noting that separating families was the exception, not the rule, for most of the two decades since the case was resolved with an agreement called the Flores settlement. Both bills have that.

The bill also includes Trump's biggest immigration ask: $23.4 billion for a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

Both bills, which are still undergoing changes, contain provisions aimed at helping young immigrants brought to the US illegally as children, often called Dreamers. That version and Goodlatte's bill are scheduled for House votes on Thursday. If the new bill passed, Wolgin said, they could potentially be sent back to their home countries more swiftly, even if there was not an established system in place to care for them.

Trump stopped short of explicitly endorsing the middle-ground legislation, but a senior White House official said his tweet was created to signal his support.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen refused to apologise for enforcing immigration laws that result in the separation of children from their parents.

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