A sprawling, compromise GOP immigration bill that would have provided a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants while directing $25 billion for the construction of President Trump's border wall failed in the House on Wednesday, despite encouragement from the president for Republicans to support it.
Republican Representative Mark Meadows, the head of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, told reporters after the vote that while two immigration bills failed over the past week, he held out a hope a third, narrow immigration measure could pass the House.
The bill addressed keeping together parents and children detained for crossing the border illegally, and some are still urging Congress to take up that issue separately before going on break for the Fourth of July recess.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, countered that the Democratic measure didn't solve any of the big problems with the US immigration system, such as a backlogged legal immigration system and lax enforcement that encourages people to try to jump the border, figuring they'll be quickly released into the country. The government has yet to reunite about 2,000 children with their parents, and those youngsters are now scattered across the country, some in foster homes and others in institutions, their whereabouts often unknown to their parents. It may have done a little good by providing another route to citizenship for children brought into the U.S. by illegal immigrants, but that would have been undone by the removal of time limits for the detention of accompanied children.
"It's been very frustrating", Denham said, recognising that Republicans can't pass immigration legislation on their own. It was defeated in a 121-301 vote, with Republicans split 121-112 for the bill and Democrats voting 0-189.
"Simply put, the House has now missed two opportunities to fix our broken immigration system and make our country more safe, secure, and prosperous", House Republican Lloyd Smucker said on Twitter. The compromise bill was postponed last week to try and get the vote total up, but it did far worse Wednesday.
Gheen faulted Washington-based low-immigration advocates who signed onto the less-generous legislation sponsored by Goodlatte. He told Republicans in a closed-door meeting that he liked both bills on the table, despite not endorsing a specific plan.
That legislation would also give priority to timely consideration of cases involving families, and authorize 225 new immigration judges. This bill eliminates most family reunification. That bill was seen as much more conservative than the one lawmakers rejected on Wednesday.
That said, the president had indicated last minute support for the compromise bill though this might have only added to sense of confusion as to what exactly Mr. Trump's true position was.
The vote caps a frustrating year for advocates on both sides of the immigration divide. "What we saw today I believe has less to do with good policies and more to do with making Congress look more dysfunctional for political reasons".
The U.S. House resoundingly rejected a major immigration bill on Wednesday.
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