House soundly rejects last-ditch effort to pass immigration reform bill

A mother migrating from Honduras holds her 1-year-old child as surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol agents after illegally crossing the border Monday

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The House of Representatives was expected to vote on Wednesday on a broad-based immigration bill that would bar the separation of migrant children from their parents and provide $25 billion for a wall that Trump has vowed to build along the US-Mexico border.

The bill would have addressed a variety of lingering immigration issues, from ending family separations to Trump's border wall to a solution for almost 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children whose deportation protections were terminated by Trump.

And some Republicans, like Rep. Mike Coffman, who was a central figure in crafting the compromise bill, blamed the senior White House adviser Stephen Miller for stonewalling the effort.

The House of Representatives failed to pass an immigration overhaul backed by Republican leadership on Wednesday, the second time in less than a week lawmakers have rejected a GOP immigration proposal. Democrats said they did not favor the measure.

After Wednesday's failure in the House, it is unlikely that the House will now move to take up a narrow bill dealing with family separation before they leave tomorrow afternoon for a weeklong recess, according to multiple congressional aides.

President Donald Trump called for House Republicans to pass a moderate immigration bill on Wednesday, reversing course from last week when he said that lawmakers are "wasting their time" trying the pass the bill since it faces a slim chance in the Senate.

The election-year response to the public uproar over the policy comes as a broader immigration package was headed toward likely defeat in the House this week.

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Even if it passed, it would have been dead on arrival in the closely divided Senate, where Democrats would have had enough votes to kill it. House leaders had originally intended the compromise vote to take place on the same day.

The president has been forced to reverse some of his more extreme policies, including one that separated children from their parents at the border with Mexico.

The fact that President Trump had signaled his desire to see immigration reform long fingered so as to make it an election issue in the November mid-terms undoubtedly influenced a number of Republican House members when it came to voting. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley said he did not share the president's dismissive attitude towards immigration judges.

A 1997 court settlement known as the Flores agreement set policy for the detention of minors in the custody of immigration officials and a federal appeals court has interpreted it to allow immigration officials to detain families for only 20 days.

GOP leaders have been talking about a Plan B: a bill focused narrowly on barring the government from wresting children from migrant families caught entering the country without authorization. The small group is made up of unlikely bedfellows: for Republicans, Sens. "We can give them 100 percent of what they wanted, and double it, they still wouldn't pass it".

Faced with both domestic and global outrage, Trump last week signed an executive order to halt the family separation practice, but made no specific provisions for those already split apart. Sabraw also issued a nationwide injunction on future family separations.

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