GOP Drafts Bill Overturning Policy of Separating Families at Border


Leading Republican and Democrat figures are pressuring US President Donald Trump to halt his administration's practice of separating children from their parents when apprehended at the borders as the issue further polarised the already divisive immigration debate in Washington.

The House GOP whip team is expected to count votes for the compromise measure during a 6:30 p.m. vote series Tuesday.

"And then we now have a bill that represents a compromise that is going to be brought to the floor so members can actually vote on legislation tackling this issue and this has a chance of going into law", said Ryan.

Another senior White House official said Trump misunderstood the question that was posed to him, which prompted the president to say that he "certainly wouldn't sign the more moderate one".

"Clearly he didn't read the bill", Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., a moderate who had tried to force a vote on a bipartisan immigration reform bill, told reporters.

Trump said he was looking at the two Republican immigration bills set for a House vote next week.

DACA has let the immigrants live and work in the renewable two-year increments, but does not give them permanent legal status.

When White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked during Thursday afternoon's press conference whether the president had a preference between the two bills, she sidestepped the opportunity to endorse either and instead repeatedly referred back to a four pillar immigration proposal President Trump laid out in January. Conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus have expressed concerns with the bill, as have moderate members who helped negotiate the plan but want to do more to ensure that children are not separated from their parents at the border.

For legal immigration, Goodlatte's bill ends chain migration, kills the diversity visa lottery, and boosts immigration for skilled workers, while reducing overall immigration.

On Friday morning, Trump seemed to dismiss the measure. "I think the part of it he will like is the trigger mechanism that if the appropriation, funding and the spending on the wall is not delivered on then there is no other part of the bill", Walker said.

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Later Friday he tweeted his demands for an immigration bill.

"I hate the children being taken away", Trump told reporters at the White House later Friday.

A powerful conservative group, Heritage Action, also came out strongly against the bill -urging GOP lawmakers to vote no. 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.

The draft legislation, resulting from intense negotiations between moderates and conservatives, includes a path to citizenship for an estimated 1.8 million young immigrants in the country illegally.

Even if something did pass the House, Democrats in the Senate will nearly certainly block anything that cuts legal immigration.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump claimed family separation is one reason why Capitol Hill needs more Republicans, even though Democrats have introduced a bill to keep families together, and there is no law requiring family separation.

But two conservative provisions are likely to prevent almost all Democrats, and perhaps some moderate Republicans, from supporting the bill.

On the border wall, Goodlatte's bill authorizes the $25 billion project, but FAIR added the "money would still need to be appropriated".

Later Thursday, the White House vehemently defended its policy, even insisting that enforcing the law is "very biblical".