WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on immigration legislation (all times local):
House Republicans have abruptly canceled a committee meeting dealing with funding to handle refugees and immigrant children who arrive without parents at the border.
Committee Republicans say the Monday meeting was postponed because of scheduling conflicts with a defense funding bill. It’s being rescheduled for after the Independence Day recess.
But Democrats say Republicans called off the meeting of the Labor-Health and Human Services subcommittee to avoid debate on President Donald Trump’s family separations policy.
In a statement, House Democrats Nita Lowey of New York and Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut say the sole purpose of the meeting’s cancellation is to prevent Democrats from offering amendments that would protect migrant children and keep families together.
Lowey is the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, and DeLauro is the subcommittee’s top Democrat.
The second-ranking Senate Republican says more judges are needed to handle immigration cases at the border.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas told reporters Monday, “I think we need some more immigration judges.”
The Republican senator takes a different view from President Donald Trump who said Monday that hiring more judges isn’t the way to resolve the border crisis and would simply lead to graft.
Senate Republicans have introduced legislation to stem the problem of family separations at the border by hiring 200 more immigration judges to quickly process cases. They want to prevent the situation of prolonged detentions of minors.
Cornyn said the number of judges needed “can be debatable, but I think we need more.”
President Donald Trump is continuing to rail against U.S. immigration policies days after signing an executive order reversing his administration’s insistence on separating migrant children from their parents at the border.
Trump said, as he met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II at the White House, that the executive order was “great” and that he was “very happy” he’d signed it. But he’s continued to call for an overhaul of U.S. immigration laws, calling them “obsolete” and “horrible” and saying, “The laws have to be changed.”
He says he wants to put in place a “nice, simple system” in which people who aren’t supposed to be in the country are immediately sent back without appearing before judges.
He’s also continuing to blame Democrats, accusing them of wanting open borders and claiming that they don’t care about crime.
House Republicans aides say GOP leaders are weighing legislation aimed at addressing the uproar over the Trump administration’s separation of migrant families caught crossing the U.S. border.
The bill is being discussed as an alternative to a broader immigration package that seems headed toward defeat in a planned House vote this week.
The staffers provided no detail on what the narrower legislation would say. Republican lawmakers are eager to vote on legislation letting authorities keep detained families together for longer than 20 days, the current legal standard.
President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting families caught illegally entering the U.S. has resulted in nearly 2,300 children being separated from parents. Trump reversed that policy under bipartisan fire.
The aides spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
President Donald Trump says the legal due process given to people caught trying to cross the U.S. border illegally is dysfunctional and “not the way to go.”
Trump says in a series of typo-filled tweets that, “Hiring manythousands of judges, and going through a long and complicated legal process, is not the way to go – will always be disfunctional.”
Trump says that people trying to gain entry “must simply be stopped at the Border and told they cannot come into the U.S. illegally” and that children should be sent back to their home countries.
He adds that, “If this is done, illegal immigration will be stopped in it’s tracks.”
His comments Monday were similar to those over the weekend in which he compared people crossing the border to invaders.
Trump is also complaining about media coverage of his immigration policies, saying they’re the “same” as the Obama administration’s, although that’s not the case.
Rep. Mark Meadows, chair of the House Freedom Caucus, says the House will likely reject the latest compromise immigration bill and that leadership will present separation legislation that would address family separations at the border.
Meadows says on Fox News Monday that even as GOP leadership planned a Tuesday evening vote, lawmakers were still negotiating over the phone this weekend on the details. One hang-up among Republicans, he said, was whether young immigrants known as “Dreamers” would be allowed to bring their parents to the U.S.
When asked if the bill will pass or fail, Meadows said “I would think fail right now.”
Meadows said if that happens as he expects, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who chairs the Republican Conference, would present “follow-up piece of legislation within days.” He says Rodgers “has some real thoughtful insight in terms of how we keep those families together,” which is something “that a lot of us want to do.”
GOP leaders’ election-year struggle to shove an immigration bill through the House this week are being hampered by President Donald Trump and fears of conservative voters, leaving prospects dubious.
Party leaders are trying to finally secure the votes they need for their wide-ranging bill with tweaks they hope will goose support from the GOP’s dueling conservative and moderate wings. But 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 immigration bill — supporting it one day and later recommending they drop it — and his history of abruptly flip-flopping on past health care and spending measures have not been reassuring.