House rejects immigration reform bill backed by GOP leadership

House rejects immigration reform bill backed by GOP leadership

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U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Gage Skidmore/ Flickr)

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives overwhelmingly rejected an immigration reform bill backed by GOP leaders on Wednesday afternoon.

The lower chamber defeated the measure 301-121.

All Democrats voted no as did more than 100 Republicans.

House GOP leaders twice postponed votes on the measure planned for last week in hopes of securing additional support.

The postponements followed the defeat of a more hardline immigration bill proposed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas).

The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018 would have provided $25 billion for a border wall. It would have eliminated the visa lottery program and provided a path to citizenship for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

The proposed legislation would have created a guest worker program for the agriculture sector and would have required employers to use E-Verify to confirm the immigration status of employees.

The bill would have provided more than $7 billion to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to build new containment centers to ensure undocumented families are not separated while they await a hearing before an immigration judge.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order last week that prohibits family separation but the order does not address the estimated 2,300 children who are currently being held at DHS facilities.

A federal judge issued a ruling Tuesday that orders the reunification of most undocumented families.

Pundits said the House likely would reject the leadership bill. However, even if it passed, the bill was expected to face stiff opposition in the Senate.

Trump tweeted last week that Republicans should wait until after the midterm elections to tackle immigration.

However, on Wednesday, Trump reversed course and told Republicans to pass the leadership bill despite the long odds it likely would have faced in the Senate.

The Senate rejected a series of immigration reform bills in February.

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