Trump, White House appear at odds over GOP immigration bill


Pro-immigration rallies were held on Long Island and nationwide Thursday night against the policy of separating parents and children when they cross the US border illegally.

The bill also includes Trump's biggest immigration ask: $23.4 billion for a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

Democratic candidate Josh Harder held a protest Thursday over the separation policy at the Modesto, California, offices of Republican Rep. Jeff Denham, one of the leaders of the House effort to craft a Republican compromise bill.

Republicans were reluctant to tackle the "Dreamer" issue this year.

"I'm very disappointed", said Representative Mike Coffman, a moderate Republican from a competitive Colorado district. Both sides are eager for votes to highlight their stances. It also called for a pathway to citizenship - something conservatives have long rejected - and ended family-based visa programs for certain relatives of US citizens, according to a discussion draft of legislation circulated among lawmakers Thursday.

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One is a hard-line measure and the second is a compromise meant to bridge the divide between moderate Republicans and conservatives in the House GOP conference.

The Trump administration's "zero tolerance" border security approach has seen thousands of adults criminally prosecuted for illegally entering the USA, meaning their children are separated from their guardians and classified as "unaccompanied minors". "The president needs to read the bill", Coffman said, adding that the president was just "responding to the word "moderate".

In separate remarks to reporters at the White House, Trump also insisted he wanted to see Congress pass legislation that would end his administration's policy of separating migrant families at the border.

But the White House said later that Trump did in fact back the proposal that would protect the Dreamers, as well as the other, more hardline one.

And House Republicans were told a statement of administration policy was being drafted in support of their compromise immigration bill, according to a House GOP source. He suggested that plans for votes next week were being reconsidered.

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Brian Higgins said that he does not plan to support Rep. Nancy Pelosi for another term as leader of the Democrats in the House.

Both the conservative and compromise bills would provide money for Trump's long-sought border wall with Mexico. Among them, family-related visas for the married children or adult siblings of USA citizens as well as the 55,000 visas now available under the diversity lottery system for immigrants from other represented countries, including many in Africa. Trump has terminated that program, though federal courts have temporarily kept it functioning.

Under the proposal, some 700,000 DACA recipients, as well as a broader group of young people who didn't register for the program, could apply for legal status, which would be valid for six years and renewable "indefinitely".

But, as Splinter's Clio Chang observed, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his GOP colleagues are refusing to do so either, demonstrating clearly that they are "not against separating children from their parents".

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