Trump says GOP lawmakers 'wasting their time'

Melania Trump speaks out about migrants

With a crisis over family separations still boiling on the border, the House on Thursday voted down a conservative immigration bill and abruptly postponed a vote on a more moderate proposal pitched as a compromise between battling Republican factions, an embarrassing setback for House leaders.

Two immigration bills under consideration in the House could address the separations, but the outlook for passage is dim. Those defections - almost 1 in 5 GOP lawmakers - underscored the party's chasm over immigration and the election-year pressures Republicans face to stay true to districts that range from staunchly conservative to pro-immigrant.

Bowing to pressure from anxious allies, President Donald Trump abruptly reversed himself Wednesday and signed an executive order halting his administration's policy of separating children from their parents when they are detained illegally crossing the USA border.

A federal prosecutor said "there was no prosecution sought" in light of Trump's executive order ending the practice of separating families.

In the Senate, Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who ran unsuccessfully against Trump in 2016 for their party's presidential nomination, said he would introduce legislation this week to halt family separations.

"She's all for women and mothers, and she has a White House role and a job", she continued.

Minutes later, it was Pelosi firing back: "Democrats want to honor our responsibility to secure our borders but not by putting children in cages".

And in a tweet that seemed to undermine House leaders' efforts to round up votes, he questioned the objective of their legislation by suggesting it was doomed in the Senate anyway. Instead, the children could be detained for extended periods - alongside their parents. "Children belong with their families", he said.

Former first lady Laura Bush called the policy "cruel" and "immoral", and said it was "eerily reminiscent" of the US internment of Americans of Japanese descent during World War II.

"We want to solve this problem", he said.

The Texas border town of McAllen is home to the U.S. Border Patrol's McAllen Station, the busiest point of entry for apprehending and detaining immigrants suspected of entering the country illegally, and protests have erupted around the area. In May, they suffered an embarrassing setback when 30 GOP members opposed passage in an effort to force a vote on conservative immigration legislation.

They were trying to persuade colleagues to seize the moment and tackle immigration problems by approving the bill, which includes $25 billion for Trump's border wall and a path to citizenship for young immigrants who have lived in the US illegally since childhood. Both were drafted with no input from Democrats. "It may be a compromise with the devil, but it is not a compromise with the Democrats". Trump blamed Democrats for the bind, despite disagreements among GOP lawmakers being the reason for the likely defeat in the House.

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"What is the objective of the House doing good immigration bills when you need 9 votes by Democrats in the Senate, and the Dems are only looking to Obstruct (which they feel is good for them in the Mid-Terms)", Trump tweeted.

But then he tweeted on Thursday that whatever passed in the House was surely dead in the Senate because Republicans have just 51 votes, not almost enough to clear the 60-vote threshold to get past a Democratic filibuster.

He said, "There's only one way that this bill goes down today and that's if the Freedom Caucus votes against the measures that they put into the bill". Sixty votes are needed to end filibusters.

Border crossings briefly dropped after Trump took office in January 2017, but have since risen to levels seen during the administration of his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama. His order seemed to stem some of the urgency for Congress to act.

Other Republicans, though, particularly moderates who forced the immigration issue to the fore, pushed on, trying to persuade their colleagues not to let this chance slip away.

There are other significant differences between the House and Senate bills, but farm bill veterans say they will be easier to reconcile.

House Republicans scrambled to update their approach ahead of a visit from President Donald Trump to discuss a broader immigration overhaul that is to be voted on this week. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi strongly criticized the GOP immigration bills, calling them "anti-family" while charging they "perpetuate" child detention. It did so by eliminating the 20-day cap on holding minors and allowing indefinite detentions.

"I think this is one of his best moments".

President Donald Trump is accusing Democrats of circulating "phony stories of sadness and grief", amid a global uproar over his "zero tolerance" policy for illegal border crossings.

One of them said Nielsen, who had become the face of the administration's policy, had little faith that Congress would act to fix the separation issue and felt compelled to act.

White House officials have privately embraced the border policy as a negotiating tactic to win votes for legislation to fulfill the president's pledge to build a border wall and to tighten the nation's immigration laws. Many come from states with large immigrant populations now at risk of deportation after Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. A federal court challenge has kept the DACA program running for now.

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