WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will meet with House Republicans this week to discuss immigration — just days after his off-the-cuff remarks on the issue threw the GOP’s carefully-laid strategy into chaos.
The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and was confirmed by two House Republican aides who requested anonymity ahead of a formal announcement.
Confronted by moderate Republicans demanding they take up immigration bills, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and his leadership team had teed up votes on two measures: a hard-line draft written by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, and legislation billed as a compromise between the moderate and conservative factions of the House Republican conference.
But when asked about the two bills during an interview on “Fox and Friends” on Friday morning, Trump stated his opposition to the so-called compromise legislation by saying he “certainly wouldn’t sign the more moderate one.”
Those remarks prompted hours of confusion on Capitol Hill, as GOP leaders indicated they were reticent to move forward with votes unless the bills had Trump’s blessing.
Late Friday afternoon, the White House clarified Trump’s remarks and said he would sign both immigration bills should either reach his desk, which is highly unlikely.
It’s unclear whether the compromise measure — written with White House input, including from Stephen Miller, a top policy adviser — will even pass the House at all.
The proposal scuttles the Diversity Visa Program and scales back family-based immigration visas, while offering a path to citizenship to “Dreamers” that is contingent on the provision of border wall funding.
It also would seek to end the Trump administration’s practice of separating immigrant children from their families when they are apprehended at the border by effectively allowing children to be detained with their parents. Critics of the policy, however, say the bill would not force the Trump administration to end the practice.
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