IMMIGRATION ISSUES | House defeats GOP immigration bill


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-led House this afternoon killed a broad, GOP-written immigration bill. The rejection was expected because of Republican divisions and solid Democratic opposition.

The defeat reflects GOP worries over alienating conservatives, whom they'll need in this fall's elections. The bill would give some immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children a chance for citizenship, and that's anathema to hard-right voters.

The 301-121 vote came despite President Donald Trump tweeting his eleventh-hour support.

Trump's views on the issue have repeatedly flip-flopped. Some GOP lawmakers had become nervous about backing the package for fear that he might change his mind again, putting them on the wrong side of Trump backers.

The bill would finance Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico, limit legal immigration and curb the separation of migrant families.

9:41 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department today said a judge’s order to reunite families separated at the border “makes it even more imperative” that Congress pass legislation that would enable it “to simultaneously enforce the law and keep families together.”

Otherwise, the administration says, “lawlessness at the border will continue.”

The administration was responding to a federal judge’s order Tuesday that U.S. border authorities must reunite separated families within 30 days. If the children are younger than 5, they must be reunited with families within 14 days of the order.

The order poses logistical problems for the administration and its “zero tolerance” policy on illegal border crossings. That policy resulted in more than 2,000 children separated from their families in recent weeks, according to the government, and placed in government-contracted shelters while the adults are detained.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego, an appointee of President George W. Bush, issued a nationwide injunction on future family separations, unless the parent is deemed unfit or doesn’t want to be with the child. The judge’s order also requires the government to provide phone contact between parents and their children within 10 days.

Trump had already signed an order ending family separations and said families would be detained together. But Sabraw’s order forces the administration to adhere to a timeline and quickly address families affected by the hardline policy embraced earlier this spring.

Health and Human Services, which takes charge of the children, referred questions to the Justice Department.

“Last night’s court decision makes it even more imperative that Congress finally act to give federal law enforcement the ability to simultaneously enforce the law and keep families together,” wrote the Justice Department in a statement.

“Without this action by Congress, lawlessness at the border will continue, which will only lead to predictable results—more heroin and fentanyl pushed by Mexican cartels plaguing our communities, a surge in MS-13 gang members, and an increase in the number of human trafficking prosecutions.”

Both chambers of Congress are working on legislation aimed at ending separation of migrant families, but there’s not been agreement on including a specific timetable in the legislation.

8:54 a.m.

MCALLEN, Texas (AP) — A judge in California on Tuesday ordered U.S. border authorities to reunite separated families within 30 days, setting a hard deadline in a process that has so far yielded uncertainty about when children might again see their parents.

If children are younger than 5, they must be reunified within 14 days of the order issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego. Sabraw, an appointee of President George W. Bush, also issued a nationwide injunction on future family separations, unless the parent is deemed unfit or doesn’t want to be with the child. He also requires the government provide phone contact between parents and their children within 10 days.

More than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents in recent weeks and placed in government-contracted shelters — hundreds of miles away, in some cases — under a now-abandoned policy toward families caught illegally entering the U.S.

Amid an international outcry, Trump last week issued an executive order to stop the separation of families and said parents and children will instead be detained together. A Department of Homeland Security statement over the weekend on reuniting families only seemed to sow more confusion.

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