President Donald Trump issued an all-caps call on Twitter Wednesday for House Republicans to pass immigration reform legislation, a sharp reversal from last week, when he said Republicans were “wasting their time” trying to pass such a measure.
“HOUSE REPUBLICANS SHOULD PASS THE STRONG BUT FAIR IMMIGRATION BILL, KNOWN AS GOODLATTE II, IN THEIR AFTERNOON VOTE TODAY, EVEN THOUGH THE DEMS WON’T LET IT PASS IN THE SENATE,” Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning. “PASSAGE WILL SHOW THAT WE WANT STRONG BORDERS & SECURITY WHILE THE DEMS WANT OPEN BORDERS = CRIME. WIN!”
Trump had previously argued that efforts at passing an immigration reform bill in the House were futile because any measure would face grim prospects at best in the Senate. Democrats, the president argued as recently as last week, were uninterested in striking a deal on immigration because they want to campaign on the issue.
The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a package of immigration reforms, although the prospects for its success remain questionable. House Republicans have struggled for weeks to craft a bill capable of satisfying the party’s far-right, including the possible addition of a provision that would have required employers to use the E-Verify system to certify the legal status of their workers.
After it failed to earn additional support for the bill from conservatives, GOP moderates ultimately pulled their offer to attach the E-Verify provision to the bill.
Whether Trump’s 11th-hour support for the measure will swing Republican votes into the “yes” column remains to be seen, his past opposition was likely a hurdle for GOP leadership in generating momentum behind the bill. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), a member of the arch-conservative Freedom Caucus who lost a primary challenge earlier this month and has also been a regular critic of Trump’s, said last week that the president’s criticism of House immigration push meant “game over” for those efforts.
"It takes the wind out of the sails in what might have been a fairly productive weekend in terms of looking for a compromise. I don’t know how it happens," he said on CNN. "If you look at how contentious this issue is, how much emotion there is, you know, without the president being out front, without the president having legislators’ backs, there’s no way they’re going to take the risks that would be inherent in a major reform bill."
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