WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans expressed optimism today that a revised, $694 million bill addressing the surge of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border would win over reluctant conservatives and give a divided GOP a political win.
Determined to head home today for the five-week summer break, GOP leaders altered the bill, adding $35 million for the National Guard and clarifying a provision on quickly returning unaccompanied minors from Central America to their home countries.
They also toughened a companion bill targeting a 2-year-old program that has granted work permits and relief from deportation to more than 500,000 immigrants brought here illegally as kids, stating that President Barack Obama cannot renew or expand the program.
The last-minute changes came after leaders were forced to abandon a scheduled vote on Thursday in the face of tea party opposition.
Even if the House passes the bill later today, Obama's request for more money to deal with the border crisis will go unanswered. The Senate blocked its version of a border security bill, and there are no plans to work out any compromise before Congress returns in September.