Republican congressional leaders told members of their party on Wednesday that President Donald Trump supports an immigration bill that is still being drafted by the GOP. Dissension has been evident within the party, pitting members of the Freedom Caucus against fellow Republicans who are seeking a way to allow hundreds of thousands of so-called Dreamers -- the beneficiaries of the Obama-era Delayed Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) -- to have a chance at amnesty and perhaps a path to citizenship. A vote on two immigration measures is planned for next week.
Freedom Caucus members are backing a bill introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) that would give the young Dreamers limited opportunities to remain in the United States, but impose restrictions on legal immigration and bolster border security.
While negotiating with dissenting Republicans, party leaders are writing the second bill that would allow Dreamers to qualify for legal permanent residence, and also finance the president’s proposed border wall and restrictions on legal immigration.
According to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), “the president seemed very supportive” of the compromise bill. In addition, White House senior adviser Stephen Miller told the Republican Study Committee (a conservative grouping) that the White House supports the conservative and middle-ground immigration measures. Earlier this year, Trump promised Democrats amnesty for up to 3 million illegal aliens if they would agree to build his proposed border wall. The Democrats did not buy it. And they are not expected to support the two bills to be contemplated next week.
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller told House conservatives on Wednesday in the Republican Study Committee that the White House supports both immigration bills, according to The Hill. While Miller reiterated the administration’s support for Goodlatte’s bill, it would also support the second bill, which reportedly contains all four elements that Trump has demanded for any immigration bill crossing his desk. The four pillars Trump demands are: a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients; improved border security and $25 billion in funding for a walls on the Mexican border; abolishment of the visa lottery program; and limits on family-based immigration, which has been dubbed “chain migration.”
Release of the text of the second, compromise bill, is expected within days. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Speaker Ryan (R-Wis.) spoke with Trump on Wednesday about the bill, adding that will be released as soon as possible for a vote next week.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus are not been clearly supported of the compromise bill, even while they are supportive of the parliamentary rule to allow the votes on the two bills. House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) told CNN that his group wants to review the finalized legislative text of the compromise bill before they can issue an official position. Meadows said on CNN, “Ask Stephen [Miller] if he’s seen a bill. Maybe he’s seen one in North Korea, but I didn’t see one in Washington D.C.”
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.