Trump Tweets, Hard-Right Voters Hamper GOP Immigration Push - NBC Bay Area
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Immigration in America

Full coverage of immigration issues in the U.S.

Trump Tweets, Hard-Right Voters Hamper GOP Immigration Push

"Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration," the president tweeted

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Trump to GOP: Stop Wasting Time on Immigration

    After repeatedly calling on Congress to solve the immigration problem, President Donald Trump now wants lawmakers to delay immigration reform until after the midterm elections in November. (Published Friday, June 22, 2018)

    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, leaving their 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 bill and history of abruptly flip-flopping on past health care and spending measures have not been reassuring.

    Last Tuesday, he privately told House Republicans that he backed their legislation "1,000 percent" and would protect them during their campaigns, lawmakers said. By Friday, he was tweeting that "Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration" and wait until after the November elections, when he said the GOP would approve tougher legislation because it will gain strength in Congress. That proposition is dicey at best.

    "I think that the best way to pass legislation is to consistently support a position and help move it forward," Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, a senior House Republican. Asked if Trump was doing that, Walden pivoted toward a door and said, "I'll leave it at that."

    Watch: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Full Opening Statement at House Hearing on Reparations

    [NATL] Watch: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Full Opening Statement at House Hearing on Reparations

    Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of “The Case for Reparations,” testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee during a hearing on whether the United States should consider compensation for the descendants of slaves. 

    He delivered a rebuttal to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's comments that "no one currently alive was responsible for that," which Coates called a "strange theory of governance." 

    "Well into this century the United States was still paying out pensions to the heirs of civil war soldiers," he said. "We honor treaties that date back some 200 years despite no one being alive who signed those treaties. Many of us would love to be taxed for the things we are solely and individually responsible for. But we are American citizens and this bound to a collective enterprise that extends beyond our individual and personal reach."

    (Published Wednesday, June 19, 2019)

    The bill would make citizenship a possibility for "Dreamer" immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. when young. It would also finance Trump's aspirational $25 billion wall with Mexico and curb government agencies from wrenching migrant children from detained parents.

    The measure is the product of weeks of bargaining between party conservatives and moderates. Even so, the two GOP factions have been unable to resolve their final differences and vote-counters have yet to round up a majority. Republicans are getting no help from Democrats, who uniformly oppose the legislation.

    The GOP divisions come at a bad time for the party: Elections are approaching and immigration has riveted public attention for months. Republicans who are battling to retain House control have hoped to focus this fall's campaigns on the economy and tax cuts.

    Instead, Republican blockades against ending deportations of young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children were major news earlier this year. In recent days, the focus has shifted to the Trump administration's wrenching of migrant children from their parents.

    Neither of those have been good looks for Republicans from swing districts with large numbers of moderate voters — the very incumbents who must be re-elected for the GOP to retain House control.

    Lawmakers said leaders wanted to round up GOP votes by adding provisions requiring companies to verify workers' citizenship, which conservatives like. They would also ease restrictions on seasonal migrant workers, a priority for farm-district, moderate Republicans.

    Hearing on Reparations Brings Testimony from Actor, Senator, Ex-NFL Player

    [NATL] Hearing on Reparations Brings Testimony from Actor, Senator, Ex-NFL Player

    Watch actor Donald Glover, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and former NFL player Owens Burgess testify before a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on whether the United States should consider compensation for the descendants of slaves.

     

    (Published Wednesday, June 19, 2019)

    Until now, party leaders have hesitated to include those items because they could end up costing votes, not gaining them. Moderate Republicans don't like the citizenship verification requirement and some conservatives don't like helping immigrants stay in the U.S.

    Another problem is the two additional provisions don't address the major reason for GOP defections: Conservatives say helping Dreamers stay in the U.S. is handing amnesty to lawbreakers.

    "I'm a 'no,'" said Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., a member of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus. He said he couldn't defend helping the Dreamers "to people waiting in line the right way" to immigrate to the U.S.

    The House defeated a more conservative immigration alternative last week.

    GOP leaders said the House will vote on its compromise immigration bill despite Trump's flashing red light on the subject.

    Top Republicans have wanted to hold the votes, win or lose, partly to defuse an effort by GOP moderates to force the chamber to vote on liberal-leaning bills helping immigrants win citizenship. Those measures could pass the House backed by Democrats and a few Republicans, an outcome that would enrage conservative voters.

    20 Candidates. 2 Nights. Breaking Down 1st 2020 Dem. Debates

    [MI-NATL COPY] 20 Candidates. 2 Nights. Breaking Down 1st 2020 Dem. Debates

    The first Democratic primary debates will be held June 26th and 27th - and with 20 candidates expected to debate policy, healthcare, immigration and other issues over the course of two nights, it's anything but conventional. NBC's Darryl Forges breaks it down.

    (Published Wednesday, June 19, 2019)

    In addition, some Republicans are eager for roll calls to show voters back home that they've tried to address the issue.

    "I think it's important that the House be able to show we can take the action," said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.