Friday 15 November 2019

Trump tells Republicans to ‘stop wasting their time’ on immigration

Stubborn differences between conservative and more moderate Republicans have stalled immigration legislation on Capitol Hill.

Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By Lisa Mascaro and Zeke Miller

Donald Trump has told his fellow Republicans in Congress to “stop wasting their time” on immigration legislation until after November, dismissing his party’s struggle to surmount internal divisions.

The president spoke out days after he insisted Congress act to resolve the problems at the Mexico border.

Stubborn differences between conservative and more moderate Republicans in the House have stalled immigration legislation on Capitol Hill, with a vote on a compromise measure delayed until next week.

Mr Trump said on Friday that even if a measure passes, it is doomed in the Senate.

“Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November,” he tweeted.

“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!”

His comments come as the Republican leadership had been hoping he could help sell the immigration legislation to wary members. The last-ditch effort on immigration ahead of mid-term elections was meant to help vulnerable Republicans this autumn.

Mr Trump himself travelled to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to make the case that Congress should pass either of two bills under consideration.

A measure backed by conservative legislators failed on Thursday. Hours later Republican leaders postponed final voting on what was billed as a compromise immigration package until next week as negotiators made a last-ditch push for support.

Republican leaders were trying to persuade colleagues to seize the moment and tackle immigration problems by approving the bill, which includes 25 billion dollars for Mr Trump’s border wall and a path to citizenship for young immigrants who have lived in the US illegally since childhood.

Calling Democrats “obstructionists” and accusing them of not caring about border security, Mr Trump tweeted on Friday that voters need to elect more Republicans.

“Even if we get 100% Republican votes in the Senate, we need 10 Democrat votes to get a much needed Immigration Bill,” Trump said.

Despite the president’s prediction of a “Red wave” this autumn, Republicans face an uphill battle in November as they seek to hold on to control of the House and Senate.

Headwinds from the controversy-embracing president and a wave of retirements in the House have put the Republican majority at severe risk.

Democrats face a more challenging map to retaking control in the Senate, with the Republicans eyeing seats in states Mr Trump carried in 2016.

PA Media

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