Republican immigration overhaul fails in heavier than expected defeat

Saturday, 30 Jun, 2018

Both bills were backed by the White House, whose "zero tolerance" policy against illegal immigration has come under fire home and overseas over the forced separation of children from their parents entering the United States illegally.

The bill also sought to address the issue of children being separated by their parents at the border by allowing the government to detain families together. The final tally was 301-121.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, countered that the Democratic measure didn't solve any of the big problems with the USA 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 rejection was expected because of Republican divisions and solid Democratic opposition.

The bill would have provided a pathway to citizenship for almost 800,000 "Dreamers" protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

That program, which has been challenged in the courts, gives renewable work permits and protection from deportation to certain illegal immigrants who came to America as children.

As such, the compromise bill (dubbed "Goodlatte 2") attracted fewer GOP votes than the hardline one. But Republicans have balked at amnesty without broader reforms. Jeff Denham, a California Republican, said Wednesday's bill included all the measures Trump requested.

"Don't let them fool you".

"Immigration reform is a very complicated, difficult, and emotional issue", he said in a statement on June 27. "This bill cancels diversity green cards". Democrats, though, said the bill would have made that path more hard. The amendment was left out of the final bill.

Other Democrats complained that it did not address the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy of filing criminal charges against first-time border crossers. Many parents are in custody thousands of miles from their children, whom they have not been able to see and have rarely spoken to for a month or more.

"We need to continue to be a beacon of hope and aspiration for the rest of the world", Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., said on the House floor before the vote. When it comes to immigration, I will always choose policy reforms that will improve border security, reprioritize the allocation of immigrant visas, and prevent future illegal immigration over continued inaction.

"If it includes repealing the Flores restrictions, I think the answer to that is maybe no", Hoyer said. His comments after the vote echoed a tweet from him last week, which was widely interpreted as a signal that Republicans shouldn't vote for it either.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Washington state representative who is chairwoman of the Republican conference, plans to introduce a bill created to pass quickly and prevent immigrant families from being separated.

While that settlement is in place, Azar said the children could not be moved to be with their parents in detention. Leaders considered adding an amendment with E-Verify provisions in a gambit to win conservative votes, but they ultimately weren't sure how many votes E-Verify would win over and some moderates felt uncomfortable with the far-right policy. As the EFF noted, the House's rejection of this bill meant no increase in border-related surveillance, snooping, and data harvesting.

"The political theater that unfolded before us was a well-orchestrated trap", he said.