A day after Republicans in the House defeated one more conservative immigration reform plan, and delayed action until next week on a second bill because of a lack of GOP votes, President Donald Trump on Friday suggested a different avenue entirely – urging Republicans in Congress to drop the issue until after the November elections.
“Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November,” the President tweeted early on Friday morning, saying the answer was simple – get more GOP lawmakers in the 2018 mid-term elections.
“Elect more Republicans in November and we will pass the finest, fairest and most comprehensive Immigration Bills anywhere in the world,” Mr. Trump pledged, as he blamed Democrats and the Senate rules, which would force him to get 60 votes to do what he wants on immigration.
Mr. Trump’s suggestion came as GOP leaders were still looking for a magic legislative formula on immigration reform, as the issue has divided Republicans in both the House and Senate.
The suggestion by the President that immigration efforts are a waste of time came as Republicans were trying to fine tune a second immigration bill in the House, with hopes of approving that next week, before lawmakers go home for a July Fourth break.
Many GOP lawmakers had been hoping that the President instead would come out very publicly in favor of those efforts, and help convince some reluctant House Republicans to get on board, and vote for the plan, despite misgivings about certain provisions.
“It’s nearly impossible to pass any immigration bill when one party categorically refuses to come to the table to talk,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).
“The President, my constituents and I want border security and an end to illegal immigration,” said Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA). “I’ve heard from folks across the Third District this week that the legislation before us did not answer those concerns.”
“This is a difficult issue,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), as GOP leaders tried to come up with a new mixture of provisions that could draw a majority in the House – as Republicans were especially divided over how to deal with illegal immigrant “Dreamers.”
“I promised my constituents that I would fight to secure the border and oppose amnesty in any form,” said Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ). “That’s why I voted no.”
But the bill that was defeated on Thursday in the House did not provide even a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, one reason that many more moderate Republicans opposed it.
The inability to push forward may have been one reason the President vented his frustration, and suggested just giving up until after November – but even then – there is no guarantee the 2018 elections will give him more votes for his favored immigration reform solutions.
Democrats quickly complained that Mr. Trump has ignored their efforts to reach a deal on immigration.