US House rejects immigration bill backed by Trump

Washington: The US House of Representatives on Wednesday defeated Republican-drafted immigration bill despite President Donald Trump’s last-minute plea and amid chaos over reunion of separated families who illegally cross the US border.

The vote failed with 121 votes in favour and 301 against. The opposition was from all Democrats and dozens of Republicans, Xinhua reported.

Hours before the vote, Trump made the last-minute push for the legislation on Twitter.

“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 said in a tweet on Wednesday.

“Passage will show that we want strong borders and security while the Dems want open borders = crime. Win!” he added.

However, the second bill, a so-called “moderate” or “comprise” one, won much less Republican votes than the “hardline” bill which failed last week in the House with 193 in favour and 231 against.

Following the failure of the “hardline” bill, House Republican leaders twice delayed the second voting, in hope that Republicans, given more time, would modify the bill again so as to secure 218 votes to pass the legislation.

The failed “hardline” bill would have provided funding for a border wall, ended the diversity visa lottery programme, limited family-based visas, created an agriculture guest worker program requiring employers to use the E-Verify program and allowed for the federal government to cut funding for sanctuary cities. Every Democrat and 41 Republicans voted against it.

Under the “moderate” or “compromise” bill, the Donald Trump government would have stopped the forced migrant family separation, got 25 billion dollars to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, and allowed up to 1.8 million Dreamers, the recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, to apply for US citizenship.

Both bills were backed by the White House, whose “zero tolerance” policy against illegal immigration has come under fire home and abroad over the forced separation of children from their parents entering the US illegally.