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House rejects Republican immigration bill

The Republican-led House has rejected a far-ranging immigration bill despite its eleventh-hour endorsement by President Donald Trump.

The House rejected a Republican compromise bill on immigration Wednesday in a worse-than-expected 121-300 vote, effectively ending a months-long GOP drama that had put the conference’s internal politics on display.

The measure won far fewer GOP votes than a more hard-line measure rejected last week in a 193-231 vote.

Only 121 Republicans backed it, compared to 193 for the earlier measure. Two Republicans did not cast votes on Wednesday, while 112 Republicans voted against it.
Votes on the bill were twice postponed to give Republicans more time to win support for the measure, which was opposed by Democrats.

But conservatives never really warmed to it, and President Trump put down the effort on Twitter, at one point saying that Republicans should stop wasting their time since the bill was seen as dead on arrival in the Senate.

The compromise bill would have provided a pathway to citizenship for so-called Dreamers, the issue that led centrist Republicans to launch a discharge petition to force a series of votes on immigration.

Discharge petitions are a way of getting around the House leadership to force a vote and are rarely used by members in the majority. Democrats backed those Republicans pushing the discharge petition to raise pressure on GOP leaders.

The decision to vote on the hard-line immigration measure last week and the compromise bill on Wednesday was part of a deal within the GOP conference that effectively quashed the petition.

The bill also earmarked $25 billion for Trump’s border wall and other security measures, ended the diversity visa lottery program and imposed limits on family-based migration.

The bill included a conservative proposal to end family separations at the border, an issue that has inflamed tensions.

The proposal would rescind what's known as the Flores settlement, which establishes minimum standards and a 20-day limit for detention of minors.
It's still possible the House could seek to take action on a narrower measure aimed at ending those separations, though the form is unclear. Several different bills are expected to be introduced in the House, and competing efforts are also underway in the Senate.

Conservative opposition centered in part on the Dreamers part of the measure, as some lawmakers saw providing a pathway to citizenship for those immigrants as "amnesty."

“From the beginning, it's been a tough, tough, tough road to get to anything that our members can agree on. Again, you have members in our conference that don't want to do anything, whatever we do is amnesty,” one GOP aide told the Hill.

Trump also made it difficult for GOP leaders to make any progress, though he did urge lawmakers to back the measure on Wednesday, in an all capital-letters tweet, hours before the vote.

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