Despite a last minute entreaty from President Trump, a Republican-crafted immigration bill was overwhelmingly rejected this week in the House, 301-121, leaving little hope that Congress will address the issue ahead of the November mid-term elections.
The bill, which was promoted as a “compromise” between hardline and moderate Republicans, would have funded Trump’s border wall, offered some so-called DREAMers a chance at citizenship and partly addressed the family-separation crisis at the Mexican border.
Connecticut’s five Democrats voted against the bill complaining that Republicans should have allowed a vote on a bipartisan immigration reform bill that would have a shot of passing both the House and Senate. The House last week rejected a more restrictive immigration bill favored by conservatives.
Representative John Larson said after the vote that House Republicans had failed again to pass a partisan immigration bill and in the process rejected a proposal by House Democrats to pass legislation narrowly aimed at ending family separations.
“House Republicans not only voted against a clean alternative to permanently end family separations of migrant families, but their own partisan immigration measure pushed by their leadership,” Larson said. “In order to provide a clear track forward for comprehensive immigration reform, I urge my colleagues to put clean bills on the floor that provide a path for DREAMers, helps our DACA recipients, and puts our country back on the moral compass it was once on.”
Republican leaders had set up debates on the two competing immigration bills as a way to appease moderate Republicans seeking changes to immigration policy that include a pathway to citizenship for so-called DREAMers — immigrants whose parents brought them to the United States at a young age and now could face deportation. Trump last year ended the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that had protected them. A federal court challenge has kept the DACA program running for now.
The moderate Republicans had threatened to demand a vote through a “discharge petition” that would have pitted four immigration bills in a “Queen of the Hill” contest – allowing the one with the most support to advance to the Senate. Democrats wanted all the bills to be considered but that effort was rejected.
Ahead of the second vote, Trump turned to Twitter to urge Republicans to support the bill: HOUSE REPUBLICANS SHOULD PASS THE STRONG BUT FAIR IMMIGRATION BILL, KNOWN AS GOODLATTE II, IN THEIR AFTERNOON VOTE TODAY, EVEN THOUGH THE DEMS WON’T LET IT PASS IN THE SENATE. PASSAGE WILL SHOW THAT WE WANT STRONG BORDERS & SECURITY WHILE THE DEMS WANT OPEN BORDERS = CRIME. WIN!
The family separation issue remains a hot button for Democrats. Senator Richard Blumenthal joined protestors in the Senate Hart Office Building on Thursday angered that more than 2,000 children have yet to be reunited with their parents.
Trump signed an executive order last week to end the policy of separating children from parents who are arrested at the border without proper documentation to enter the United States. However, Trump insisted that foreigners seeking to enter the country improperly would continue to be arrested under his zero-tolerance policy. Those with children, he said, would be detained together.
Blumenthal will join Senator Chris Murphy and Representative Joe Courtney at Noank Community Support Services in Groton Friday afternoon to highlight the issue. The group house includes at least one child separated from family at the border, according to the lawmakers.