The Latest: GOP leaders hampered in immigration legislation

President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, June 23, 2018, after returning from a trip to Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) –The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Congress and immigration (all times local):

12:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump says people who “invade” the U.S. must immediately be sent back to their countries and not be given a court hearing.

Trump tweets Sunday that the U.S. immigration system is “laughed at all over the world” and is “very unfair” to individuals using legal avenues to gain entry.

Trump says: “We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order.”


Last week, Trump reversed a policy of separating families entering the U.S. illegally at the border with Mexico.

The House is expected to vote on immigration legislation later this week.


11:55 a.m.

The U.S. Senate’s top Democrat is calling for the Trump administration to appoint a czar to help reunite parents and children who were separated at the border.

Sen. Chuck Schumer said Sunday that the federal government should appoint the czar until officials reunite all of the families that were separated.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump ordered the separation practice to stop. But officials said there were 2,053 minors that were separated at the border and being cared for in federally funded facilities across the U.S., as of last Wednesday. It is unclear how long it might take to reunite families.

Schumer said officials must speed up efforts to end the “continued chaos of detained children who remain in limbo.”

He says a czar could work across agencies to help reunite still-separated children and their parents.


11 a.m.

Sen. James Lankford says the White House needs to do a better job explaining why families were being separated at the southern border.

The Oklahoma Republican says a court settlement limiting child detentions to 20 days is the issue. Lankford says it takes about 35 days for anyone caught crossing into the U.S. illegally to get a court hearing, setting up a “conundrum” over how to handle these cases.


The Trump administration had been taking children away from adults at the southern border. Families are now to be held together, but the 20-day limit on child detentions remains.

Lankford tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the best approach would be to try to reform the court settlement so that families can stay together long enough to get a hearing.


9:30 a.m.

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says the White House has assured him that President Donald Trump remains “100 percent” behind efforts in the House to pass an immigration bill.

Republican Rep. Mike McCaul of Texas says on “Fox News Sunday” that the House needs to pass a wide-ranging immigration bill this week. He says if the House doesn’t act, the nation will see “this human tragedy” continue to happen along the border.

McCaul is suggesting Congress may need to pass a “skinny” immigration bill dealing with family separation if the more wide-ranging version fails.

He says “at a minimum” the House needs to address the separation of immigrant children from their families at the southern border, calling it “inhumane.”


7:30 a.m.

Republican apprehension over President Donald Trump’s next tweet and fear of riling conservative voters is undermining GOP leaders’ election-year struggle to shove an immigration bill through the House this week. That leaves their prospects for success dubious.

Party leaders hope to finally secure the votes they need for their wide-ranging bill. They’re planning tweaks they hope will bolster support from the GOP’s dueling conservative and moderate wings.


More importantly, wavering Republicans want Trump to provide political cover for immigration legislation that’s despised by hard-right voters. His recent statements on their bill have not been reassuring.

Last Tuesday, he privately told House Republicans that he backed their legislation “1,000 percent.” By Friday, he was tweeting that “Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration” and wait until after the November elections.


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