By: Robert Donachie
President Donald Trump’s messaging on immigration is leaving little room for House and Senate Republicans to take a definitive stance on whether or not to move forward with trying to reform the nation’s immigration system.
Trump spent the last two weeks of June telling congressional Republicans to both pass an immigration reform bill, any bill, and give up on the campaign entirely until after the 2018 November midterm elections.
The president followed up the confusing messaging Thursday morning, calling, once again, for Congress to “FIX OUR BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM.”
Congress – FIX OUR INSANE IMMIGRATION LAWS NOW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2018
After months of debate, negotiations, inflamed rhetoric and intraparty bickering, the immigration debate in Congress stalled for a second time June 27 after House members shot down GOP leadership’s last-ditch effort to find “compromise” in the lower chamber.
The conference voted June 21 on a bill from GOP Reps. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Michael McCaul of Texas that included border security funding, only granted “Dreamers” a temporary protected three-year legal status with no pathway for citizenship and E-Verify.
Trump promised House Republicans in mid-June leading up to the votes that he was with them “1,000 percent” and would sign whatever agreement the conference passed. Some conservative members told reporters they did not necessarily believe the president, arguing that if he wanted a bill to pass, he would have advocated for it in front of the entire conference.
The president then questioned the point of passing an immigration bill in the House on June 21, since it was sure to meet defeat in the Senate.
“What is the purpose of the House doing good immigration bills when you need 9 votes by Democrats in the Senate, and the Dems are only looking to Obstruct (which they feel is good for them in the Mid-Terms). Republicans must get rid of the stupid Filibuster Rule-it is killing you,” the president tweeted.
What is the purpose of the House doing good immigration bills when you need 9 votes by Democrats in the Senate, and the Dems are only looking to Obstruct (which they feel is good for them in the Mid-Terms). Republicans must get rid of the stupid Filibuster Rule-it is killing you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2018
Following the vote on Goodlatte’s bill, the president kicked off the day June 22 with a series of tweets in which he said the House should not vote on immigration until after the midterms and voters should elect more Republicans to ensure a favorable bill passes.
Trump’s tweet Thursday is yet another in a series of pivots on immigration and it isn’t helping the Republican conference move forward, after repeated calls from the president to both drop and continue pushing for immigration reforms.
Conservatives, like House Freedom Caucus co-founder Jim Jordan of Ohio, would like to see a return to negotiations on a bill House lawmakers struck down June 21. The bill, known as Goodlatte/McCaul, garnered 193 “yes” votes — a notably larger sum than leadership’s compromise bill mustered June 27.
In a nutshell, the conservative position is any piece of legislation must deal with the flow of illegal immigrants into America that have crossed the southern U.S.-Mexico border for decades and address America’s immigration problems long-term, including the border wall, asylum, visa reform and chain migration.
Leadership is trying to put forth a standalone proposal, like that of Republican Reps. Dave Brat of Virginia and Mark Meadows of North Carolina, to address the family separation issue. How Democrats would vote on that potential bill, given their calls for the president and Republicans to fix it, remains to be seen.
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