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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives rejected a conservative immigration proposal Thursday and delayed a planned vote on a GOP compromise measure until Friday in another setback for House Republican leaders hoping to take up immigration reform and tout their solution to the ongoing family separation crisis.The House of Representatives rejected a conservative immigration proposal Thursday and has delayed a planned vote on a compromise version until Friday.By a vote of 193 to 231, the House defeated the Securing Americas Future Act of 2018, with 42 Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, not supporting the measure. The bill would have limited legal immigration levels while providing legal status for DACA recipients and authorizing $25 billion for a border wall.Leadership promised conservatives a vote on the measure in exchange for consideration of the annual farm bill - which hard-line members of the House Freedom Caucus torpedoed last month over their demands for a vote on the Securing Americas Future Act.House Republicans will hold a closed-door meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss the GOP compromise immigration bill with members ahead of a rescheduled vote planned for Friday.Republicans had planned to take two immigration votes on Thursday, even though both were unlikely to pass and even less likely to be considered in the Senate.Both proposals include provisions Republicans say would end family separations. Democrats argue that they would, if passed, allow the government to detain families together indefinitely.Before the House has even had a chance to vote on the immigration bills, House Speaker Paul Ryan essentially acknowledged both votes would fail, blaming Democrats, who he predicted would not cooperate in the Senate to break a filibuster even if the House passed a bill.Ryan also complained that Congress is dysfunctional without deadlines, and after the Supreme Court earlier this year essentially delayed the need for a vote on a DACA resolution until after the midterm elections, there was no urgency to act on Capitol Hill.Asked what he’d do if both votes fail, Ryan said he would “cross that bridge if we get to it” before emphasizing that his goal was not to pass legislation, but rather to prevent the discharge petition from dictating which legislation the House would consider.The big fear behind that effort was that the House – behind primarily Democrat votes – could pass the Hurd-Aguilar bipartisan USA Act. But Ryan believes Trump would need to veto that bill, and as his speakership winds down he’s defending the president from having to cross that threshold.Ryan added that if the House ever comes back around to immigration reform, he believes “the seeds for a solution” will still revolve around the president’s four pillars of immigration reform – securing the border, solving DACA, ending chain migration, and reforming the visa lottery system.Ryan said that President Barack Obama had 60 votes in the Senate and a large majority in the House “and did nothing” to solve immigration reform.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi strongly criticized the GOP immigration bills, calling them “anti-family” while charging they “perpetuate” child detention.Pelosi said Republicans “have not ever been interested” in a bipartisan deal with Democrats and slammed the so-called GOP compromise bill. “It is not a compromise,” she said. “It may be a compromise with the devil but it is not a compromise with Democrats.”
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  • Zara(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Melania Trump’s unannounced visit to McAllen, Texas to visit immigrant children in a detention center was meant to send a message that the first lady cares.But an army green jacket she wore boarding her plane to Texas at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland sent a very different message. Written in giant, white letters on the back were the words: “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?”Fashion speaks – and Mrs. Trump, a former fashion model, is known to carefully select her outfits before public appearances, paying careful attention to the designer and tone of her sartorial selection.Given that, her choice to wear the $39 Zara jacket as she headed on her unexpected trip to the border raised eyebrows.When asked by ABC News why she wore the jacket and whether she was trying to send a message, the first lady’s spokeswoman replied: “It’s just a jacket.”“There was no hidden message. After today's important visit to Texas, I hope this isn't what the media is going to choose to focus on,” Grisham said.The first lady removed the jacket before landing in McAllen.News of the first lady’s surprise visit made a media splash on the heels of Trump’s decision to end family separation with the power of the pen in an executive order. During her visit, Mrs. Trump toured a children’s shelter and attended a briefing on the status of immigrant children.Grisham told reporters on the trip that the visit was the first lady’s idea, and she planned on visiting before the president signed his executive order.“She wanted to see everything for herself and children are an important part of her platform,” Grisham told the pool.“She supports family reunification and wants to go see the facilities for herself and find out how she can help. She feels the executive order yesterday paved the way forward but there is still more to be done and she wants to lend her support.”But it wasn’t long before the first lady’s controversial jacket threatened to overshadow the entire goodwill junket to the border.Grisham sent out a tweet saying the first lady’s visit with children in Texas impacted the first lady “greatly.”“If media would spend their time & energy on her actions & efforts to help kids - rather than speculate & focus on her wardrobe - we could get so much accomplished on behalf of children. #SheCares #ItsJustAJacket”
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen met with House Republicans Wednesday afternoon at the Capitol to answer questions about the president’s new executive order ending immigrant family separation while also urging members to pass a legislative fix.The president signed an executive order directing DHS to keep families together on Wednesday but Congress is still working through multiple bills aimed at a more long-term fix to the current immigration crisis.Pressed on whether her recent comments that the president can’t solve the immigration problem with executive action, Nielsen emphasized that Congress must act to secure the border and codify law to keep immigrant families together to guard against potential legal rulings.“They need to change the laws so I have the authority to secure the border for the American people,” she said. “We have court cases, right, that prohibit us from keeping families together. So only Congress can do that.”But a Congressional fix may be easier said than done, as both chambers faced setbacks in their efforts to reach a compromise on Wednesday ahead of an expected votes on Thursday.Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, was observed in a heated discussion with Speaker Paul Ryan on the House floor. Meadows cautioned that the bill created through a compromise among Republicans was not yet ready for a vote in its current form."The compromise bill is not ready for prime time and hopefully we'll be able to make it ready for prime time," he said."I was passionate, I was not yelling," Meadows said of his apparent disagreement with Ryan. “There are things that were supposed to be in the compromise bill that are not in the compromise bill that we had all agreed to.”"I was told there were two things in there, that were not in there," he said of the bill, which he finished reading Wednesday. Meadows would not disclose whether he would oppose the measures as they’re currently crafted.Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a moderate Republican who has negotiated for weeks with GOP leaders to craft compromise legislation, said the president’s executive order is “good news.” Curbelo said that Nielsen pledged to work to reunite children currently separated from their parents “as soon as possible.”But Curbelo also accused some Republicans of working to "blow up" the GOP compromise bill."I don't think that anyone thought we would get this far and apparently that's causing some anxiety," he said. "We're also not going to let people step all over us and try to rearrange what was agreed to here at the eleventh hour.”On the Senate side Wednesday evening a bipartisan group of about a dozen senators met in the office of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Me., to start talking about possible longer-term legislative solutions to address the issues surrounding families being separated on the U.S. border.As they left the meeting, it was clear that even among the most willing of senators to work together, political divisions on resolving this issue in the long term run deep and wouldn't be solved quickly or easily.Most of the lawmakers who joined Collins said they agreed that any bill should only deal with this narrow issue and not broader problems related to immigration like DACA. But all other aspects of a more permanent deal broke down along party lines.“Indefinite family detention is not a solution to the problem. There is no way that we can in my mind indefinitely detain families as they go through their asylum process,” Sen Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said.But Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said it would not work to keep families out of detention either.“The solution that some are pushing is to simply release illegal aliens who are detained. Simply return to catch-and-release. That's a mistake. That doesn't work,” Cruz said.While all participants in the meeting also agreed that their meet
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  • House of Representatives(WASHINGTON) -- The Committee on Homeland Security Democrats hosted a congressional panel on Wednesday to answer questions regarding President Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, a practice that has separated more than 2,000 children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.The discussion titled “Immigration Policy Failures: from Family Separation to Detention Practices” covered topics including health, adoption and advocacy.“I wish it was a panel we didn't have to convene,” Ryan Mace, Grassroots Advocacy & Refugee Specialist of Amnesty International USA, said.Mace said the policy is a “flagrant violation” of human rights and called on Congress to end the detainment of asylum seekers.“Families and children who are trying to get away from violence to somewhere they are safe and can seek asylum,” Mace said. “For most, asylum is not something they choose to do but something they must do.”Advocacy Strategist of Refugee Protection at Human Rights First, Jennifer Quigley, also weighed in to say the U.S. government should not be prosecuting asylum seekers but should instead process their asylum claims.The panelists also touched on the process of adopting the children in the centers. Sanjeev K. Sriram of Doctors for America says although it may seem like a good idea, it may actually negatively impact the child.“[...] how traumatizing those good intentions are,” Sriram said. “You can have all the good intentions in the world and have a horrible impact.”Sriram spoke on the mental health effect of removing children from their parents. He said that when asylum seekers first arrive at the border, mental health services should be readily available.“Full mental health services [...] should be the thing we are working to litigate,” Sriram said. “Those are our basic duties and responsibilities that we owe to these vulnerable children.”Advocacy groups mobilize supporters to end 'zero-tolerance' immigration policyClosing remarks from the panelists called for constituents to donate to advocacy groups, register to vote, and raise their voice.While the event was going on, President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to to keep immigrant families together.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As President Trump moved Wednesday to quell concerns over the ongoing crisis surrounding the separation of immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, Republicans vying for U.S. Senate seats across the country are digging in on their support for the president, and instead are trying to cast the blame for the situation on their Democratic opponents.Republican candidates in competitive races around the country have mostly steered clear of direct criticism of the Trump White House, and are making congressional gridlock the proverbial boogeyman at the center of the growing political and humanitarian crisis at the border.The strategy is yet another reminder of President Donald Trump's constant presence in some of the most contentious and important races in the first major election since his inauguration, where his party's majority in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are at risk.President Trump, who met with congressional Republicans Tuesday night in an attempt to corral support for a legislative solution to the crisis, Wednesday signed an executive order he claims will address the problem of family separation at the border while maintaining aggressive border security."I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated," Trump said at the White House Wednesday."The dilemma is if you’re weak...the country is going to be overwhelmed with people...if you’re strong, then you don’t have any heart. Perhaps I’d like to be strong," the President said earlier Wednesday, injecting a dose of uncertainty into an already volatile political process, one that continues to see Congress struggle to find consensus on a legislative solution.Sixty-six percent of Americans oppose the separation of families at the border according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll. A partisan breakdown of opinion shows that 55 percent of Republicans support the policy, while 68 percent of independents and 91 percent of Democrats are opposed.On Tuesday, Trump was more than willing to decry "Democrat-supported loopholes" as the root cause of the border crisis."As a result of Democrat-supported loopholes in our federal laws, most illegal immigrant families and minors from Central America who arrive unlawfully at the border cannot be detained together or removed together. Only released. These are crippling loopholes that cause family separation, which we don't want,” Trump said in pushing the blame onto Democrats.Regardless of the confusion in Washington, Republican candidates are following Trump's lead in attempting to scapegoat their Democratic opponents.Two Republican U.S. Senate candidates in states that Donald Trump captured on his way to the White House in 2016 -- Kevin Nicholson of Wisconsin and Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia -- are attempting to shift the blame off of Trump and onto their Democratic opponents."As a father I feel great concern any time I see a child crying out of fear or desperation, anywhere in the world," Nicholson wrote in a statement Tuesday, "In this case, I'm also angry with the many entrenched Washington politicians – like Tammy Baldwin – who have worked mightily to encourage the 'catch and release' illegal immigration policies that put innocent children in this position in the first place."Baldwin's campaign did not immediately respond to an ABC News request for comment on Nicholson's charge.Morrisey released a statement Wednesday morning attacking his opponent, Democrat Joe Manchin, for supporting the "Keep Families Together Act" authored by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein that earlier this week garnered the support of the entire Democratic caucus in the U.S. Senate."Joe Manchin is putting the interest of illegal immigrant criminals and the agenda of liberal Washington elites ahead of West Virginia families," Morrisey, the Attorney General of West Virginia, wrote in a statement, "Washington Democrats and Joe Manchin are
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