Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House GOP Leaders Postpone Vote On Compromise Immigration Bill

June 21, 2018 - 1:05 pm

WASHINGTON (1010 WINS/AP) -- House Republican leaders abruptly postponed voting on a compromise immigration measure amid ongoing infighting between conservatives and moderates.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's office confirmed the decision. Voting that had been expected Thursday now would be held Friday instead. That's according to aides who demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.

As the vote looms, officials have disputed claims that things are changing again regarding undocumented immigrants coming into the U.S. with children.

A civil rights lawyer says charges were dropped against a number of adult immigrants who crossed the border with children. They had been awaiting sentencing.

The Washington Post has also reported that the Trump Administration will stop prosecuting such people.

Justice Department Spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores says there has been no change to the "zero tolerance" policy that resulted in the separation of more than 2,300 children from their parents.

This comes as a House vote on the Goodlatte bill failed on Thursday.

The measure's defeat was long expected. Many GOP moderates considered it too harsh and Democrats were solidly against it.

The vote gave hard-right Republicans, who largely come from deep-red districts, a chance to broadcast to voters the tough steps they would take on the issue. The measure was defeated 231-193.

A vote on a more moderate bill was postponed until Friday.

President Donald Trump had signed an executive order Wednesday to prevent families who are caught trying to cross into the U.S. illegally from being separated.

The children won't be reunited right away. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said they're working to place the children with sponsors.

"We need to get the children out of our care as expeditiously as possible, we're subject to a court order, a consent decree to get them in proper sponsor care as quickly as possible," he said, "The average is about 58 days."

More than 2,000 children remain in shelters as the complicated task of locating their families begins. Many of the immigrants come from rural areas and poor communities, and communication has been difficult.

On Capitol Hill, the House will vote Thursday on two immigration bills. Speaker Paul Ryan said he hopes one will gain enough support to pass and keep families together while enforcing immigration laws.

Here in New York, immigration activists gathered at La Guardia Airport to voice their displeasure with Trump administration policies. It came as Mayor Bill de Blasio learned that 239 migrant children were being cared for at a facility in Harlem.

"Because it's come home to New York City it's our responsibility to help these children, while we're working to fight to change the policy it's our responsibility to help these children in any way we can, and we intend to do that," de Blasio said.

He said it appeared that the children were being treated well, although some had arrived with physical problems including lice, bed bugs, and chicken pox.

Governor Cuomo says he's demanding information from the Health and Human Services Administration about the estimated 700 migrant children who've been put into foster care around the state.

"It is absurd, inhumane, and violative of the HHS secretary's mission, and I believe oath of office to deprive children who need health services from providing those services," Cuomo said.

De Blasio made his way to Tornillo, Texas on Thursday and was planning to tour the Tornillo Migrant Children's Facility.

First Lady Melania Trump was also in Texas on Thursday, she was in McAllen to visit a child detention center.

"We all know they're here without their families, and I want to thank you for your hard work, your compassion, and your kindness that you're gving them during these difficult times," she said.

A civil rights group attorney says federal prosecutors unexpectedly dropped misdemeanor charges against 17 adult immigrants who crossed the border with children.
Efren Olivares, a lawyer with the Texas Civil Rights Project, said outside of the federal courthouse in McAllen, Texas, that the 17 immigrants were supposed to have been sentenced Thursday morning for improperly entering the U.S.
Olivares says the 17 will likely be placed in immigration detention, though he didn't know whether they would be reunited immediately with their children or released altogether. Asked if they had any reaction to the charges against them being dropped, he said, "They're asking about their children, frankly.''
The Texas Civil Rights Project is interviewing adults to track them and their children through separate government systems.