The Republican-majority U.S. House of Representatives rejected another immigration bill on Wednesday that would have addressed the chaotic and 'borderline torture' policy of separating immigrant families arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The bill, which also included long-term protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and US$25 billion in funding for President Donald Trump's ramped-up border wall, failed by a 301-121 vote. According to GovTrack, 112 Republicans denied the measure.
Wednesday's bill – negotiated between hardline anti-immigrant and more moderate Republican factions – is considered a 'compromise' compared to last week's failed conservative legislation slashing even legal immigration. Lawmakers voted 231-193 on that bill. Democrats were excluded from drafting the measure.
The House may vote next month, after its July 4 recess, on a measure that would focus specifically on the family separations issue.
Trump is trying to pressure both Democrats and Republicans in Congress to come up with a legislative solution to the family separation policy he enacted two months ago.
Wednesday, in all caps, Trump tweeted: "HOUSE REPUBLICANS SHOULD PASS THE STRONG BUT FAIR IMMIGRATION BILL… TODAY, EVEN THOUGH THE DEMS WON'T LET IT PASS IN THE SENATE. PASSAGE WILL SHOW THAT WE WANT STRONG BORDERS & SECURITY WHILE THE DEMS WANT OPEN BORDERS = CRIME. WIN!"
The two consecutive bills that failed on the part of the GOP leave thousands of immigrants trying to enter the United States – most seeking asylum – in limbo to live in detention centers and camps across the country. It also suggests Republicans can't consolidate around the immigration issue, something Trump was trying to avoid.
In a tweet last Friday, Trump said Republicans should "stop wasting their time on immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November," even though Republicans, not Democrats, created the current immigration impasse.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw blocked the administration's family separation policy, part of Trump's 'zero tolerance' plan to block undocumented immigrants from entering at the U.S.-Mexico border. Most of the 2,300 families have been Central American asylum seekers.
Although Trump issued an executive order to reverse the policy that the U.N. said "may amount to torture," the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), the plaintiff in the case brought to Sabraw, said the mandate contained several "loopholes" and didn't fix the problem.
Some 2,000 children remain in U.S. custody. Sabraw's preliminary injunction also requires the government to reunite children under the age of 5 with their parents within 14 days, and those over 5 years within 30 days of the order.