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House Republicans reject compromise immigration bill

By Susan McFarland
House Republicans reject compromise immigration bill
President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., arrive at a meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on June 19, 2018. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

June 27 (UPI) -- After weeks of negotiations and a last-minute Twitter endorsement by President Donald Trump, the House on Wednesday rejected the GOP's compromise immigration bill.

The bill was rejected in a 121-301 vote, which was short of about 218 votes needed to pass. No Democrats voted for it.

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Earlier Wednesday, Trump urged House Republicans to back the bill, despite telling them last week to wait until after mid-terms to bother with any reform measures.

Republican House leaders worked Tuesday to shore up last-minute support for the immigration bill before Wednesday's vote.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan had said the bill addresses keeping detained migrant families together at the U.S.-Mexico border, while still enforcing the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy.

Under the proposal, children who cross illegally with parents or adult guardians would no longer be separated -- an issue that stirred significant controversy last week and led to a presidential order and federal court ruling.

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The bill would have required children to be released after 20 days, still apart from parents who continued to be detained. Unaccompanied children would be returned to their home countries.

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Included in the bill was nearly $25 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border wall, a project sharply opposed by Democrats but required by Trump, he said, for his signature.

The bill would have also allowed a path to citizenship for 3.6 million Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, or "Dreamers." Democrats, though, said the bill would have made that path more difficult.

The Cato Institute, a Libertarian think tank, estimated eligibility restrictions in the bill would only result in about 12 percent of Dreamers becoming U.S. citizens.

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A group of bipartisan senators is also working on a compromise bill to address family separations. The group includes Republicans, Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Dick Durbin, D-Il.

Last week, Republican leaders in the House rescheduled the vote on the Ryan's moderate version after rejecting a more conservative proposal.

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