House Republican leaders are reworking their "compromise" immigration bill to include a provision that modifies - but doesn't completely end - the "zero tolerance" policy being enforced now by the Trump administration. "We don't want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!" he added.
President Donald Trump said Friday that he would oppose a compromise immigration bill cobbled together by House Republicans - dealing a significant blow to GOP leaders who have scrambled to rally support for the bill. "That might be good enough, even if he doesn't say I will sign it", said Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Still, negotiators on both sides of the GOP said they were not ready to endorse the draft.
Indeed, they are getting pressure from the right.
"What the administration is doing is they're using the grief, the tears, the pain of these kids as mortar to build their wall and it's an effort to extort a bill to their liking in the Congress", said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-CA.
In a series of tweets Monday, the president blamed Democrats for weak an ineffective border security.
Both bills, which are still undergoing changes, contain provisions aimed at helping young immigrants brought to the USA illegally as children, often called Dreamers.
"The Democrats, by the way, are very weak on immigration", Trump told Fox News host Steve Doocy. "But parents who want to have their children with them and they're awaiting a trial on the violation of the law for entering the country illegally, we're going to work to make sure that that is possible".
"We won't guarantee passage", Ryan said.
The issue deeply divides Republicans, who are increasingly breaking with the administration over the zero-tolerance policy.
Protesters gathered in more than a dozen states - including California, Texas, Michigan and NY - on Thursday to bring attention to what organizers say is the administration's "cruel and inhumane treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers".
"When the president says he's not going to sign it, just shows how low his standards are", she said.
Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan M. Collins of ME sent a letter challenging the truthfulness of the administration and demanding answers. "Yet there are numerous credible media accounts showing that exactly that is happening".
He said the left needs to start taking into account the American communities that have been devastated by widespread crime due to criminal illegal immigrants.
That won't be in time to inform this week's House debate.
The lack of clarity led GOP leaders to put their plans for the bill on hold. The one favored by conservatives and written by Rep. Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., would offer temporary protection from deportation for those eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, an Obama-era program ended by Trump. Bob Goodlatte, while the other is a compromise overseen by the party leaders, which combines an amnesty for some illegal immigrants with major changes to enforcement and pathways for legal immigration.
"I think what the president is saying is if the Democrats are serious, they'll come together again and try to close these loopholes and get real immigration reform", said White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.
For hours, officials ignored requests to clarify Mr. Trump's remarks.
House Republicans were in full-on damage control Friday morning as they sought to downplay President Donald Trump's comments that he wouldn't support the GOP compromise bill.
House Republican leaders plan to whip support for the compromise measure later Friday.
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