WASHINGTON (CBS) - Republicans' efforts to overhaul immigration may be in trouble. A vote on the more conservative of two GOP-proposed bills failed on the House floor Thursday, and the vote on the more moderate bill was delayed until Friday.
House Republicans are expected to meet at 4:30 p.m. Thursday for a briefing on the more moderate bill. While both bills were originated by Republicans, one is generally considered the more "conservative" bill, authored by retiring Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia. The other bill, the "compromise" or "moderate" bill, comes from Republican leadership. President Trump has, through White House officials, expressed his support for both pieces of legislation.
But Speaker of the House Paul Ryan didn't exactly exude confidence Thursday that any immigration legislation would pass the House Thursday. And Mr. Trump, too, cast doubt on whether the bills have any chance in the Senate, even if they pass the House. Asked what happens if both immigration votes fail, Ryan said, "We'll cross that bridge if we get to it."
In a press conference on Thursday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the compromise bill a "compromise with the devil."
"It's not a compromise," Pelosi said. "It may be a compromise with the devil, but it's not a compromise with the Democrats in terms of what they have in their bill. Their bills are anti-family, perpetuate child detention, undermine existing protections, cut off many people who have been waiting lawfully to enter the country."
Key differences between the two bills:
On the matter of family separation — which the Trump administration is halting for now — the conservative bill allows children to be detained with their parents in Department of Homeland Security custody for longer than 20 days by giving DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen "discretion" to do so. The compromise bill goes a step further, by allowing children to be detained with their parents, and mandating that DHS house families who are going through criminal proceedings for first-time border crossings rather than turn them over to the Justice Department, as is current policy, CBS News' Rebecca Kaplan reports. The compromise bill would also provide funding for detention centers.
On DACA — The conservative bill allows for current recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to apply for a three-year renewable legal status allowing them to work and travel overseas. DACA recipients must use existing pathways to get green cards. The compromise bill allows those who qualified for DACA under the 2012 standards to apply for a six-year, indefinitely renewable legal status. They can also apply for the merit-based visa program without going to their home country first.
Visas — The conservative bill eliminates the diversity lottery and family visas for relatives other than spouses and minor children. It would also increase visas for skilled workers. The compromise bill creates a new, merit-based green card system with points for education, employment, English proficiency and military service by eliminating the diversity lottery and family visas for married children of U.S. citizens, and for siblings of adult U.S. citizens. It also eliminates per-country caps for employment-based immigration.
Border security — The conservative bill authorizes construction of the border wall, technology and other infrastructure. It also adds 5,000 border patrol agents and 5,000 Customs and Border Protection officers, and a biometric entry-exit system. The compromise bill appropriates $25 billion in advance for border security funding for the wall, access and roads, and also includes the addition of a biometric entry-exist system.
Overall immigration levels — The conservative bill would reduce overall immigration levels by about 25 percent per year. The compromise bill would keep immigration bills level.