House GOP factions claim progress on immigration compromise

House GOP factions claim progress on immigration compromise

A leader of House Republican moderates said Thursday that a tentative deal with conservatives was being discussed to help young "Dreamer" immigrants stay in the US legally.

Members of Republican factions divided over immigration said Wednesday that they expect party leaders to present broad ideas for resolving the long-running dispute at a House GOP meeting Thursday.

The meeting between moderates, conservatives and leadership continued to make progress, but there still seemed to be no resolution on the issue of establishing citizenship for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Leaders of the conservative and moderate GOP blocs met in House Speaker Paul D. Ryan's office Friday to examine the framework.

Reporters pursue Marc Short, the White House legislative liaison, as House Republicans try to bridge their party's internal struggle over immigration at a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday. Another member of that group, Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., said a proposal has been discussed but cautioned that there are "tons of moving pieces to it".

Lawmakers have until Tuesday to get that done or a discharge petition would reemerge.

The moderates have gathered signatures on a "discharge petition" that would force votes on bipartisan bills that most Republicans oppose. "We will absolutely have all 218 (signatures needed) and probably a lot more than that", Denham told reporters. But he added, "We're still not in a situation where there's agreement". Highlighting the tenuous state of the talks, moderates said Thursday they had reached an accord with conservatives on a key sticking point, while conservative leaders denied any such deal was in place.

He said the conservatives' proposal involves a merit system, but said he was unfamiliar with its details. President Donald Trump rescinded the program a year ago but it is still operating under court order, putting Dreamers in a precarious situation. But by some estimates, 1 million or more other people qualify for that program but haven't applied.

"Now it's a matter of putting it on paper and seeing if we actually have an agreement", Denham said.

Ryan described leaders' effort to find a compromise after he and other GOP leaders left a private meeting that didn't resolve divisions between conservatives and moderates that threaten the party's prospects in November's elections. Bob Corker in Tennessee, Trump framed Democrats as "MS-13 loving" fans of "open borders" and said he hopes the issue is at play throughout campaign season. Ryan wants to halt legislation from centrists, and popular with Democrats, to provide young immigrants here illegally a path to legal status.

House leaders want to push fractured Republicans toward consensus on immigration, racing the clock as they seek to defuse a GOP civil war threatening to wound their hopes for keeping control in November's elections. "This effort to get our members to come to a common ground is the best chance at law".

In exchange for providing possible citizenship for Dreamers, Trump has demanded full financing for his wall with Mexico. He also stressed that the bill enforces border security.

I believe we will get those signatures tonight if the Republicans are unable to come up with an agreement, Sinema said Thursday on KTAR News 92.3 FM's Arizona's Morning News.

A big roadblock to any deal has been whether Dreamers, people who were brought into the country illegally as children, should get a special pathway to citizenship.

Conservatives have been adamant about not providing a "special" process carving out a unique way for Dreamers to gain legal status, and some of them bristled at Denham's narrower description.

Rank-and-file Republicans said they are still focused on President Trump's four pillars of combining a significant amnesty for almost 2 million illegal immigrants with stiffer border security and faster deportations, curtailing the chain of family migration, and ending the visa lottery that doles out immigration passes by chance.

In a sign that leadership was not confident the conference would finally be able to get on the same page on an issue that has divided Republicans for years, Speaker Paul D. Ryan opened the Thursday conference by noting the goal of the talks was to head off the discharge petition, not force the issue, according to a source in the room.

- Alan Fram and Lisa Mascaro, Associated Press; Andrew Taylor, Kevin Freking and Padmananda Rama contributed.