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House immigration proposal highlights GOP divide

House immigration proposal highlights GOP divide

President Trump and the White House on Friday appeared to be at odds over whether the commander-in-chief does or does not support a GOP brokered moderate compromise immigration bill.

The president meets with House Republicans on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Republicans were working "hand-in-glove" with the White House on the proposal, and White House adviser Stephen Miller expressed support for the bill in a private meeting with Republicans.

Speaker Paul Ryan is planning to hold votes on two immigration measures: a hard-line conservative bill, which is nearly certain to fail, and new legislation worked out by Republican immigration moderates and House conservatives, which Ryan promoted Thursday as a "very good compromise" that he hoped would pass.

Most Democrats don't support either piece of legislation, and conservative Republicans don't support the more moderate one (because it has a path to citizenship for dreamers), and moderate Republicans don't want to drastically cut legal immigration.

Having run a campaign that centered on building a border wall and cracking down on illegal immigration, Trump's backing is widely viewed within the Republican conference - even among conservatives - as a key litmus test for whether the right flank of the conference will support a bill. The Dreamer' parents would be "rewarded for bringing their kids here illegally when the whole rationale" of the bill is to help those who are here illegally through no fault of their own, he said.

House Republican leaders circulated their draft immigration bill on Thursday, after weeks of pain-staking negotiations between two warring GOP factions.

"This is barbaric, this is not who America is, and this is the policy of the Trump administration", she said, referring to the family separations. "He would sign either the Goodlatte or the leadership bill", said White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah. Axios initially tweeted the bill "prevents children from being separated from their parents at the border" but has since updated its article to more clearly state how the GOP bill addresses family separation.

"No, I am not" comfortable with it, he told reporters.




Trump's comments sent lawmakers into a last-minute tizzy as they prepare for potential votes in the coming week.

Earlier this month, activists called for global intervention in the US push to separate migrant children from their parents, a practice the Human Rights Watch called "cruel".

The White House continues to insist that it is a Democratic law forcing them to separate parents and children.

And Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., a leader of the moderate bloc, said he had made "no final decision yet" on the bill.

The new permanent-residency green cards would be issued each year only if Congress releases money for Trump's border wall.

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.

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

One bill, introduced by Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte, is strong on enforcement, offering a limited amnesty of so-called DACA recipients. While it was negotiated with an understanding the White House would back it, he said in a "Fox & Friends" appearance on Friday that he would veto it.

Both bills include provisions to stop the catch-and-release practice, which now sees thousands of illegal immigrants being released into the United States with court dates years down the road.


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