WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — The House voted Thursday to reject a conservative immigration bill with no citizenship pathway for Dreamer immigrants.
The proposed legislation would have overhauled U.S. immigration law following President Donald Trump’s executive order to stop separating families caught crossing the border illegally.
There were two immigration bills that House members were to vote on Thursday, the conservative Goodlatte immigration bill and the GOP compromise bill known as the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018, CBS News reported.
Trump expressed frustration with Congress, questioning what good it will do to pass an immigration bill in the House if it can’t pass in the Senate.
“What is the purpose of the House doing good immigration bills when you need 9 votes by Democrats in the Senate, and the Dems are only looking to Obstruct,” the president said on Twitter.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Thursday she was looking forward to the vote.
“Congress has the authority and responsibility to make the law of the land and to fix the immigration system,” Nielsen said. “We have done everything that we can do in within the executive branch to both secure our borders, uphold our ideals, and protect our communities. But we need Congress to act.”
At rally in Minnesota Wednesday night, the president touted the executive order he signed hours earlier in Washington after increasing pressure from people across the country and in Congress to stop separating families.
“We’re gonna keep families together but the borders are gonna be just as strong,” Trump said.
The president said his order would not end the “zero-tolerance” policy that criminally prosecutes all adults caught crossing the border illegally. The order aims to keep families together while they are in custody, to expedite their cases and asks the Department of Defense to help house families.
“I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated,” Trump said. But the order is only a temporary fix and what happens next, he says, is up to Congress.
But Trump administration officials say they haven’t yet figured out how to reunite the thousands of children separated from their families at the border.
“We’re still working through the experience of reunifying kids with their parents after adjudication,” said Steven Wagner, an acting assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services.
That includes the nearly 240 children sent to a holding facility in East Harlem that Mayor Bill de Blasio toured Wednesday.
“Parents having no idea where their children are or what will happen to them,” he said.
The youngest of the children sent to the center so far was 9 months old, de Blasio said.
“This has been a traumatic process for a lot of these kids,” he said.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)