Republicans postpone US immigration vote until next week

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WASHINGTON, June 22, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Republicans postponed a key Thursday
vote on US immigration reform until next week in Congress, as the party’s
divided factions failed to agree on legislation that addresses the family
separation crisis.

First a hardline proposal was defeated, as expected, by 193 votes to 231.

Then voting on a so-called compromise bill between the party’s hard-right
and moderate wings was pushed back to Friday, before it was postponed again
until next week, multiple Republican aides said.

The legislative drama marked a major embarrassment for President Donald
Trump’s party in Congress.

It came a day after Trump — in a stunning about-face — moved to end the
practice of splitting migrant families after they cross into the US from
Mexico.

But Republicans — who control both chambers of Congress — have failed to
unify around a measure that would end the controversial family separations
while addressing key priorities supported by Trump, such as limits to legal
immigration and funding for his proposed wall on the US-Mexico border.

GOP lawmakers emerged from a lengthy closed-door meeting in the US Capitol
late Thursday saying more work was needed.

“Right now we’re going to keep working with our members,” number three
Republican Steve Scalise said, according to CBS News.

House Speaker Paul Ryan hinted at the impasse earlier in the day, when he
acknowledged the prospect of both bills failing.

“We will cross that bridge if we get to it,” he said.

“If a bill isn’t passed today, we’re going to come back around to the
president’s four pillars.”

For months Trump has called for a bill that would tighten border security,
end a diversity visa lottery program, curtail so-called “chain migration,”
and provide certain protections for young immigrants known as “Dreamers,” who
were brought to the United States illegally as children.

But Republican leaders were considering adding two new provisions into the
current legislation. One, aimed at attracting conservative lawmakers, would
require companies to use an online E-verify” system to assure US citizenship
of their workers.

Another would help companies in agricultural regions retain migrant
workers.

The House’s top Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, assailed the bill as “a compromise
with the devil” and not with Democrats.

She argued it perpetuates child detention, undermines existing protections
and restricts immigration for millions who have been waiting to legally enter
the country.

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