Republicans Risking Conservative Backlash Over Immigration - NBC Bay Area
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Republicans Risking Conservative Backlash Over Immigration

The tension threatens to exacerbate the GOP's political challenges this fall, when their majorities in the House and Senate could be at risk

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Contentious WH Briefing Highlights Conflict Over Immigration

    A contentious White House press briefing broke out between press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the White House press corp on Thursday, after reporters pressed Sanders on the Trump administration's policy to separate immigrant families at the border. (Published Friday, June 15, 2018)

    The push toward immigration votes in the House is intensifying the divide among Republicans on one of the party's most animating issues and fueling concerns that a voter backlash could cost the GOP control of the House in November.

    To many conservatives, the compromise immigration proposal released this past week by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is little more than "amnesty."

    One tea party group described the Republican plan as "the final betrayal." Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, who is close to President Donald Trump, tweeted Friday that Ryan is "trying to open our borders even more and give illegal immigrants the biggest amnesty in American history."

    Passage of the bill could alienate conservatives and depress turnout at a time when enthusiasm among Democrats is high. Yet scuttling the bill could turn off independent voters, an especially important bloc for House Republicans competing in dozens of districts that Democrat Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 presidential election.

    'My Big Idea' with 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates O'Rourke, Warren and Others

    [NATL] 'My Big Idea' with 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates O'Rourke, Warren and Others

    Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other 2020 candidates share their big ideas as part of NBC News' series giving the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates a chance to tell voters about issues that make them stand out from the pack. Full report

    (Published Tuesday, June 25, 2019)

    "The GOP's in a tough spot," said Republican pollster Frank Luntz. "The hardcore Trump voter has a different point of view than the ever-important independent voter, and there doesn't seem to be a middle ground."

    The draft legislation, resulting from intense negotiations between moderates and conservatives, includes a path to citizenship for an estimated 1.8 million young immigrants in the country illegally. The plan includes $25 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and other security measures sought by the White House.

    "While the bill contains some positive provisions, including full funding for the border wall and closing loopholes in current law that sustain illegal border surges, it is still a mass amnesty," said RJ Hauman, of the conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform.

    "This bill hardly fulfills President Trump's bold promise to fix immigration, and sure isn't a winning message for the GOP in the midterms," Hauman said.

    Trump will meet with House Republicans next week to discuss the issue just days after his comments during an impromptu Fox News interview on the White House driveway nearly derailed the planned House vote, according to a House GOP official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the plans ahead of an official announcement.

    Trump had said in the interview that he wouldn't sign what was described as the "moderate" immigration bill, even though the version written by House leadership is based on his own priorities. White House officials later said the president had misspoken and didn't realize he was being asked about the compromise bill. The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, the person said.

    'My Big Idea' with 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates Buttigieg, Sanders and Others

    [NATL] 'My Big Idea' with 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates Buttigieg, Sanders and Others

    Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders and other 2020 candidates share their big ideas as part of NBC News' series giving the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates a chance to tell voters about issues that make them stand out from the pack. Full report

    (Published Tuesday, June 25, 2019)

    Skittish conservative lawmakers have indicated there's little chance they would support the current plan unless Trump were to give it a full embrace.

    "House Republicans are not going to take on immigration without the support and endorsement of President Trump," said Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., the GOP's chief deputy vote counter.

    The politics of the immigration debate have grown more heated since the administration adopted a "zero tolerance" approach at the Southern border. The policy is leading to an increase in the number of detained immigrants being separated from their children.

    Trump has tried to blame Democrats for his own administration's policy, tweeting Saturday that they "can fix their forced family breakup at the Border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change!"

    Facing a national uproar, House GOP leaders included a provision in the immigration proposal that would require families to be kept together for as long as they are in the custody of the Homeland Security Department.

    The proposed fix won approval from moderate House Republicans locked in difficult re-election battles, but not from Republican Senate candidates running competitive races in GOP-leaning states. None spoke in support of the bill.

    60% of Americans Disapprove of President Trump

    [NATL] 60% of Americans Disapprove of President Trump

    A poll by the Associated Press – NORC Center for Public Affairs Research breaks down registered voters feelings toward the President and the large field of Democratic candidates.

    (Published Monday, June 24, 2019)

    "We're studying the proposal," said Arizona Rep. Martha McSally, who is viewed as the GOP establishment's favorite in one of the top Senate races. "I try not get swayed by what the emotions are or the pressure. I really try to look at the policy issues."

    Kelli Ward, one of McSally's main opponents in the Arizona Senate primary on Aug. 28, was more scathing in her assessment.

    "Compromising on the rule of law to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants is the wrong path to take," she said of the House plan. "Congress should focus on border security and stop talking about amnesty as a solution."

    In Pennsylvania, Rep. Lou Barletta, the Republican nominee against Democratic Sen. Bob Casey took an equally aggressive approach against his own party's immigration plan.

    "I hate it," he told The Associated Press. "What does it accomplish? It's amnesty."

    Barletta said he has compassion for the children caught up in the immigration debate. But he said he wouldn't support an immigration bill unless it also blocked employers from hiring immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally, eliminated "sanctuary cities" and ended family-based migration.

    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)

    Barletta said his party should "absolutely" fear a political backlash from its base this fall should Republicans push through the current compromise.

    Other high-profile Republican candidates avoided questions about the immigration plan altogether, highlighting the political sensitivity of the issue.

    The Republicans who declined to comment or ignored AP questions included Senate candidates Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mike Braun of Indiana and Matt Rosendale of Montana.

    In an election year in which Democrats appear to have an advantage on voter enthusiasm, Republicans can ill afford to alienate any voters this fall, particularly their most passionate supporters.

    Former White House counselor Steve Bannon lobbied against the compromise in private meetings with House conservatives earlier this past week.

    He warned that Republicans "will lose the House and Trump will be impeached" if the House backs the new measure, according to Iowa Rep. Steve King, an immigration hard-liner who was in attendance.

    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)