February 19, 2019

House GOP immigration negotiations continue

13 June 2018, 07:15 | Devin Moran

House Republicans grapple with immigration debate, don't reach deal in 2-hour huddle

President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address in January. He used the speech to lay out the

The leaders of the effort that has been triggering weeks of intense negotiations - a procedural maneuver that would force immigration to the floor and bypass party leadership - said that conservatives had put forward a proposal to them that would include a "bridge" for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and those like them to eventually gain citizenship, which has been the most hard part of negotiations to date.

Denham said the top priority for moderates remains the same as from beginning: to produce a "permanent" way to protect the young immigrant "Dreamers" - those who have been living in the US illegally since childhood - from deportation and allow them eventually to apply for citizenship.

"There will definitely be more signatures this week", Denham said.

Denham said moderates had agreed to accept border security measures as part of the accord, including backing the full $25 billion President Donald Trump wants to construct his proposed wall with Mexico.

Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., who chairs the conservative Republican Study Committee and has been involved in smaller negotiations leading up to Thursday's meeting, said Thursday's session wasn't meant to finalize a deal but to "get everything on the table".

In March, Trump expressed interest in meeting with Kim and the administration announced May 10 that a U.S.

A major obstacle has been whether to create a special pathway to citizenship for "Dreamers", people who came into the country illegally as minors, which Denham and his allies have said must be included and is nonnegotiable.

"We're still not in a situation where we're in an agreement", said conservative and Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican.

During the meeting, Dana Rohrabacher of California said he suggested paying for the wall by selling 50,000 visas for $1 million each per year.

Lawmakers said they were focusing on one of two options outlined for the young immigrants.

Moderate Republicans are now saying they will hold off on adding additional signatures to the discharge petition until Tuesday, buying GOP leadership a bit more time to craft a formal proposal.

Mr. Trump and Republican leaders in Congress say that doesn't go far enough.

"The next two or three days will be decisive in terms of whether or not people keep their word and support this framework that is fairly detailed", Curbelo said. "Now it's a matter of putting on paper and seeing if we actually have an agreement".

White House legislative director Marc Short was at the Thursday meeting, but in a listen-only capacity.

The flurry underscored the escalating pressure Republicans face to address immigration, an issue pitting centrists representing Hispanic and moderate voters against conservatives with deep-red constituents sympathetic to Trump's anti-immigrant outbursts. He vowed that by Tuesday it was "extremely likely" they would have the signatures needed to push the roll calls.

Asked about reports that he offered the visa suggestion, Labrador said he would not get into the negotiations.

"The speaker desperately wants to get something we can coalesce around", said Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., a Trump ally.

But, the sources also cautioned, the specifics regarding who would qualify for the visa and what the thresholds would be remain key details to be worked out before a deal is reached. House GOP factions will meet with Ryan to try to resolve a looming immigration showdown.

Getting the President on board will be its own challenge.

No one described reaching a consensus or plan, but still described the meeting as a productive exchange of ideas.

U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona said a bipartisan effort on an immigration vote could get around roadblocks and put bills on the House floor soon.

While the fundamentals of the debate did not appear to shift after the meeting, Ryan signaled that Republicans would be moving closer to a floor vote. "I think the Democrats walked away from the process once the Supreme Court took away our deadline on March 5th on this issue, and that has left it to us to get it done". His top two deputies, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., are angling for leadership promotions in the next Congress.

Helen Kalla, spokeswoman for the Nevada Democrats, said the party's strong early voting numbers show enthusiasm from its members.

Moderate Republicans who support Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals unveiled the discharge petition in May.

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