House Republicans Schedule Two Doomed Immigration Votes in Trump Loyalty Test

Jun 22, 2018, 09:42
House Republicans Schedule Two Doomed Immigration Votes in Trump Loyalty Test

An Ivanka Trump-branded store was scheduled to open in the lobby of Trump Tower in NY on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, selling handbags, jewelry and candles.

"This is the most consensus bill you can get on a contentious issue", said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.

There were 41 Republicans who voted with Democrats to sink the Goodlatte bill.

The fact that the bill had the White House's seal of approval has not been enough to convince conservative Republicans who believe that it hands "amnesty" to dreamers without doing enough to seal the southwest border and otherwise deter future illegal immigration.

Senate Republicans, fearing Trump's action will not withstand a legal challenge and eager to go on record opposing the administration's policy, have unveiled their own legislation to keep detained immigrant families together.

Border security: The compromise bill appropriates $25 billion in advance for border security funding for the wall, access and roads, and also includes the addition of a biometric entry-exist system.

The House on Thursday narrowly passed a $860 billion farm bill that strengthens work requirements for food stamp recipients.

Given that the Senate is working on its own version of a farm bill - one that has a less stringent approach on SNAP - it's a foregone conclusion that the House bill, should it pass, won't be the final say on the matter, with a possible House-Senate conference looming to hash out the significant differences.

Even though Trump has acted unilaterally to stem the family separations, lawmakers still prefer a legislative fix.

"What is the goal of the House doing good immigration bills when you need 9 votes by Democrats in the Senate, and the Dems are only looking to Obstruct". It also instructs the Defense Department to provide or construct facilities to house the families. Instead, the president attacked the USA asylum system and accused Democrats of preventing action on immigration...

But a small group of influential moderates was also feeling burned after long negotiations with conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus and the Republican Study Committee, which make up the bulk of the GOP majority and appeared poised to abandon the compromise.

Mississippi politicians react to separation of families at the border. Source WLBT
Mississippi politicians react to separation of families at the border. Source WLBT

Until Wednesday, the president, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other officials had repeatedly argued the only way to end the practice was for Congress to pass new legislation, while Democrats said Trump could do it with his signature alone.

But GOP leaders were eager to hold the votes anyway. "I don't know when the vote is", Meadows said.

In the House, moderate Republicans forced the immigration debate to the fore by threatening to use a rare procedure to demand a vote. Led by Curbelo and Rep Jeff Denham, a Republican from California, many are from states with large populations of young "Dreamer" immigrants who now face deportation threats under Trump's decision to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme.

Still, Ryan's team has picked up a few votes, including support from Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler. Lawmakers have introduced several competing bills to address the separation of migrant children and parents, all of which would overturn due process, anti-trafficking and human rights protections, and allow for the long-term detention of immigrant families with children.

Mr Cruz's bill would double the number of federal immigration judges, authorise new temporary shelters to house migrant families and limit the processing of asylum cases to no more than 14 days - a goal immigrant advocates say would be hard to meet.

The compromise bill was crafted to appeal to more Republicans, some of whom joined with Democrats to defeat the more conservative immigration measure.

In a Thursday morning tweet, Trump suggested that anything the House passed wouldn't pass the Senate anyway, giving already wary conservatives a reason to vote against the compromise legislation.

After a week of aides saying only Congress, and not the president, had the authority to stop the separations, Trump came out Wednesday and signed an executive order to continue prosecutions but not separate children from their parents.

Justice Department lawyers will seek permission to allow for the detention of families until criminal and removal proceedings are completed.

Mr Trump blames Democrats for what he calls "loopholes" in the law that require families detained for entering the country illegally either to be separated or released.

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