House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday that Republican leaders have been working “hand-in-glove” with the Trump White House on immigration ahead of a vote next week on two immigration bills, as moderates and conservatives continue to negotiate the details of a possible compromise measure on border security and the plight of young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers.”
“We now have a bill that represents a compromise that is going to be brought to the floor to that members can actually vote on legislation tackling this issue and this has a chance of going into law,” Ryan said at a news conference with GOP leaders, indicating the White House has signaled that President Donald Trump might sign the measure.
Ryan’s office first announced Tuesday night that the House would vote on a pair of immigration bills next week after GOP moderates fell short in an effort to force votes on a series of immigration bills – including a bipartisan measure Republican leaders feared would pass with Democrats’ votes.
“The last thing I want to do is bring a bill out of here that I know the president won’t support,” Ryan said.
The first bill would be a hard-line measure from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., introduced last January that would sharply curb legal immigration levels, require the use of E-Verify for businesses to check the status of new hires, and withhold federal grants from sanctuary cities that defy federal immigration laws.
While conservative Republicans support the measure, it’s unlikely to pass over the opposition of nearly all House Democrats and a handful of moderate Republicans.
Republicans are still at work on the second proposal, which would still face resistance and an uncertain fate on the House floor. Republicans say it will include President Trump’s requirements for any immigration reform bill needing his signature: $25 billion for a border wall with Mexico, a path to citizenship for Dreamers, changes to family migration rules to limit sponsorship to spouses and children, and elimination of the visa lottery system and re-allocation of visas to other applicants.
In another sign of support from the president, White House senior adviser Stephen Miller was on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon, telling members of the Republican Study Committee that Trump would be supportive of their work.
“Communication lines are open, and I think whatever we put on the floor, the president would support,” Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., said of the two bills Republicans hope to vote on next week.
Democrats criticized Republicans’ plans for a vote next week after GOP moderates were unable to secure the 218 signatures needed on their discharge petition to circumvent GOP leaders and force immigration votes later this month. (The group fell two signatures short with 216 members signed on.)
“Let’s be clear: these Republican proposals aren’t to provide relief for Dreamers, they’re an avenue for mass deportations and to stoke fear in communities,” Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said in a statement. “It’s been more than nine months now since President Trump ended DACA. And for nine months, GOP leaders have chosen partisan obstruction instead of working with Democrats to protect DACA recipients and find a sensible, permanent solution to our broken immigration system.”
Moderates and supporters of the discharge petition were satisfied with the votes announced by leadership, arguing that their effort helped force Republicans to put it on their agenda.
“Leadership came through, we’re going to do that next week, so from that standpoint, the discharge petition hanging out there did what we wanted,” Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., a supporter of the discharge petition, told reporters. “If we did not get the commitment we have now we would have had the signatures.”