'Republicans should stop wasting their time on immigration' - Donald Trump urges lawmakers to drop efforts
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday Republicans in Congress should drop their efforts to pass comprehensive immigration legislation until after the November elections that he hopes will see more party members voted into Congress.
The Republican president, faced with a public outcry over his policy that separated children from their migrant parents at the U.S. border with Mexico, tried to refocus the immigration debate on Congress in a series of Twitter posts.
Despite Republican control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the party's slim 51-49 majority in the latter chamber makes some Democratic support necessary to pass most legislation.
"Elect more Republicans in November and we will pass the finest, fairest and most comprehensive Immigration Bills anywhere in the world," Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.
"Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November. Dems are just playing games, have no intention of doing anything to solves this decades old problem. We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!" he added.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday rejected a bill favored by conservatives that would have halted the practice of splitting up families and addressed a range of other immigration issues.
The bill was defeated in a 231-193 vote, with 41 Republicans joining the opposition. The House also postponed, likely until next week, a vote on a more moderate bill in order to try to drum up more support.
Both bills have received backing from Trump but are opposed by Democrats and immigration advocacy groups. They would fund a wall Trump has proposed along the border with Mexico and also reduce legal migration.