Trump faces bipartisan pressure to halt family separations


House Republicans said the immigration bill they released on Thursday would stop the separations. Trump told reporters he opposes a "moderate" proposal put forward by House Republicans to fund a wall along the Mexico border and a path to citizenship for some immigrants who arrived in the USA illegally as children.

The $25 billion included in the measure to beef up border security includes funding for the wall that Trump wants to build to curb illegal immigration and the flow of drugs. "I have to have that".

"The president fully supports both the Goodlatte bill and the House leadership bill", said Raj Shah, principal deputy press secretary at the White House.

Both bills include provisions to stop the catch-and-release practice, which now sees thousands of illegal immigrants being released into the United States with court dates years down the road.

Sen. Chuck Schumer's opposition is critical because Ryan's amnesty bill needs support from roughly one-third of the 49 Democratic Senators - and also needs support from almost all GOP votes in the House.

Many Republicans view roll calls on the bills to be a crucial election-year statement to voters on where they stand on immigration.

Under the White House's policy, roughly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents after crossing the Southwest border illegally in the past six weeks.

While most families show up to their hearings afterwards, the Trump administration considers this approach "catch and release" and would prefer to hold them while their case is resolved.

The legislation seeks to conform to the four pillars the Trump administration has said must be a part of any immigration deal as well as protect DACA recipients.

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A powerful conservative group, Heritage Action, also came out strongly against the bill -urging GOP lawmakers to vote no. But under the new policy, all bets are off. Mothers can be separated from their children. Jessica Vaughan, a former Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. State Department who now serves as director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, says the Goodlatte measure is reasonable.

Anything short of that will get a pass from the White House, a point on which Trump has been exceedingly clear for months now.

After a day of confusion that threatened the future of the legislation, the White House issued a statement on the record that Trump supported the bill along with a more conservative piece of legislation.

If a mother and child enter the USA illegally, the mother is sent to a federal jail or other detention center to await prosecution; since children can not be held in an adult facility, they're put into the custody of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.

But later, the White House walked back that rejection, saying the president was "confused" and would sign the bill.

Skittish conservative lawmakers have indicated there's little chance they would support the current plan unless Trump were to give it a full embrace. The separation of children then, Goodlatte said, was an "ancillary" problem caused by trying to follow the law.

GOP senators, including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan Collins of ME, said they were considering legislation that would keep migrant families together; provide additional judges so detained families would face shorter waiting periods; and provide facilities for the families to stay.

The child separation policy of the Trump administration has come under particular scrutiny in recent days.

GOP leaders have said they may take up the family detentions issue separately, if needed, as the crisis of children being separated from their parents continues. One includes hard-line provisions catering to the House GOP's conservative wing; the other will try to bridge the gap between conservatives and moderates.