Trump: Republicans should 'stop wasting their time on immigration'
Republicans should “stop wasting their time on immigration”, Donald Trump tweeted on Friday, as House GOP leadership continued to work on a subject that has riven their party.
Republican leaders have twice been forced to postpone final voting on a moderate immigration bill, first until Friday and then to next week, as negotiators make a last-ditch push for support.
They are trying to persuade a conservative bloc to approve bill that includes $25bn for Trump’s border wall – a campaign promise which he has insisted Mexico will pay for – and a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, known as Dreamers.
A hardline bill, without provision for Dreamers, failed on Thursday.
The party should stop working on immigration reform, the president wrote on Friday morning, “until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November. Dem[ocrat]s are just playing games, have no intention of doing anything to solves this decades old problem. We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!”
Most forecasters in fact predict a possible Blue Wave in the November midterm elections, meaning a sweep of Democratic wins to take back the House and possibly the Senate.
The House Republican immigration effort is imperiled by stubborn differences between conservative and moderate factions – and by the president’s running commentary about a bill he only ever half-heartedly supported and then suggested would never become law.
Trump also initiated and then partially withdrew a “zero tolerance” policy on people attempting to enter the US illegally which resulted in the separation of more than 2,300 children from their parents. The fate of those children remains unclear.
Controversy over conditions at the southern border and Trump administration policy continues. Some legal experts have expressed concern that separations may continue despite Trump’s executive order saying that they will stop.
The Department of Defense is ready to make space available on military bases for as many as 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children, a spokesman told the Associated Press.
A Pentagon memo to members of Congress, obtained by the AP, said it had been asked to have the facilities available as early as July, through the end of the year. It said Department of Health and Human Services personnel or contractors “will provide all care for the children”, including supervision, meals, clothing, medical services, transportation and other daily needs.
On Friday, Trump also tweeted about a longstanding complaint about procedural rules in the Senate, that legislation does not pass on a simple majority vote. Republicans hold a 51-49 edge in the upper chamber.
The president wrote: “Even if we get 100% Republican votes in the Senate, we need 10 Democrat votes to get a much needed Immigration Bill – & the Dems are Obstructionists who won’t give votes for political reasons & because they don’t care about Crime coming from Border! So we need to elect more R’s!
“Elect more Republicans in November and we will pass the finest, fairest and most comprehensive Immigration Bills anywhere in the world. Right now we have the dumbest and the worst. Dems are doing nothing but Obstructing. Remember their motto, RESIST! Ours is PRODUCE!