WASHINGTON-President Donald Trump said Friday he wouldn't sign a compromise immigration bill backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), days after House Republicans said their effort had the backing of the White House.
Both bills have stringent border security provisions.
But Trump threw a curveball Friday morning when he went on Fox News and said he "certainly wouldn't sign" the legislation. And even House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., who is an immigration hardliner, told NPR's Mary Louise Kelly in an interview Monday for "All Things Considered" that he backs the changes to the administration's policy in the compromise bill.
Ryan brokered an agreement among House Republicans to vote next week on two immigration bills - a hard-line conservative measure and an alternative that Ryan and other GOP leaders have been negotiating with the many GOP factions in the House. "Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution", Sessions said at the event.
However, he also stressed there would be some exceptions, noting that adults with offenses other than illegal entry would not be able to stay with their children.
House Republican leaders plan to whip support for the compromise measure later Friday.
The campaign-season tumult erupted as GOP leaders put finishing touches on a pair of Republican bills: a hard-right proposal and a middle-ground plan negotiated by the party's conservative and moderate wings, with White House input.
For legal immigration, Goodlatte's bill ends chain migration, kills the diversity visa lottery, and boosts immigration for skilled workers, while reducing overall immigration. President Trump is addressing House GOP lawmakers at a meeting on immigration legislation on Tuesday evening. "I have to have that", Trump said. "That's it", said White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley. Hours later, he tweeted that any bill "MUST HAVE" provisions financing his proposed wall with Mexico and curbing the existing legal immigration system.
Anything short of that will get a pass from the White House, a point on which Trump has been exceedingly clear for months now.More news: Mexico 1-0 Germany
Trump's comments sent lawmakers into a last-minute tizzy as they prepare for potential votes in the coming week.
Among those pillars are guaranteed funding of $25 billion for a physical wall along the Mexican border; ending the Diversity Visa Program that now offers admission by lottery to 55,000 immigrants each year; and an end to the system of family-based immigration that distributes visas to the spouses, children and siblings of US citizens. The president began by blaming Democrats for spearheading a law that separates migrant families.
There are no limits on how many people can receive that legal immigration status, and critics said it would allow the Dreamers - after they win USA citizenship - to petition for their parents to also become citizens.
The comment prompted widespread confusion on the Hill and jeopardized Republicans' plans for votes on both bills next week.
'No From Me'Democrats weren't included in the drafting of the bill, and second-ranking Senate Democrat Dick Durbin of IL said it would face united opposition in his chamber.
Instead, they have agreed to set up votes next week on competing conservative immigration bills.
It's unclear whether the president supports the bill.
The furore over the separation policy seemed to grow even as Mr Trump planned to meet House Republicans today in advance of voting on immigration legislation that has divided his party.