Weary GOP tries to push immigration reform
The House is expected to vote on immigration legislation later this week but President Donald Trump’s recent statements on their bill and lack of support throughout the party are not reassuring. And while it’s unclear how or when children separated at the southern border will be reunited with their families, there have been a surge of donations and volunteers at detention centers. A look at the latest developments:
Immigration legislation uncertain
The Republican party is trying to secure the votes needed for their wide-ranging immigration bill but apprehension over President Donald Trump’s next tweet and fear of riling conservative voters are undermining efforts to shove an immigration bill through the House this week, leaving prospects dubious.
Party leaders hope their tweaks to the bill will goose support from the GOP’s dueling conservative and moderate wings. Wavering Republicans, however, want Trump to provide political cover for immigration legislation that’s despised by hard-right voters. His recent statements on their bill and history of abruptly flip-flopping on past health care and spending measures have not been reassuring.
“I think that the best way to pass legislation is to consistently support a position and help move it forward,” said Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, a senior House Republican. Asked if Trump was doing that, Walden said: “I’ll leave it at that.”
The House is expected to vote on immigration legislation this week, though its fate is uncertain.
Trump: No due process for invaders
President Donald Trump says people who “invade” the U.S. must immediately be sent back to their countries without a court hearing but the American Civil Liberties Union says such a step would be illegal and violate the Constitution.
The president tweeted, “We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country,” as he was being driven to his private golf club in Northern Virginia. “When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order.”
About a dozen protesters gathered at the entrance to Trump’s club Sunday afternoon as he prepared to leave, including a woman holding a sign that said “Trump Should Be Caged.”
Aid surges for asylum-seekers
When people across the country began to learn about President Donald Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents, boxes of shirts, pants, underwear and many other items began arriving at an asylum-seeker rest center in a border town in McAllen, Texas.
Included in the packages were notes of support. One read: “As someone who has a dad who would do anything for their child I hope this helps a few of the dads that come through your doors with the same ideas.”
The surge of boxes started arriving around Father’s Day.
“All of the sudden they started getting like a thousand boxes a day and then more and then more. And they had to come and secure space here and that filled up and they got another space and that filled up,” said Natalie Montelongo, a native of nearby Brownsville who flew in from Washington to volunteer at the center. She set up an Amazon wish list with items needed by the shelter and posted the link on social media.
Now, the immigrant respite center run by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley has received so many boxes that it had to rent additional storage space.
Family reunification process uncertain
The government has said family reunification would be well organized but a charitable organization in Texas says 32 immigrant parents separated from their children after crossing the U.S.-Mexica border were freed into its care and they don’t know where their kids are or when they might see them again.
Ruben Garcia, director of Annunciation House in El Paso, said the group of both mothers and fathers includes some from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras who arrived to his group after federal authorities withdrew criminal charges for illegal entry.
The release on Sunday is believed to be the first, large one of its kind since President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that ended the practice of separating immigrant parents and children but preserved a “zero-tolerance” policy for entering the country illegally.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offered no immediate comment.