House Republican leadership is expected to bring to the floor a new immigration bill that aims at appeasing both Republicans and Democrats by including proposals from both parties.
The 293-page bill from House leadership, which is expected to hit the floor next Thursday, would provide $25 billion for the construction of President Trump’s border wall and end the controversial policy known as “catch and release.”
Notably, the bill also would also allow immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to apply for a “six-year indefinitely renewable contingent non-immigrant status.” Those eligible must fit certain age and education requirements, and must not have criminal convictions.
The bill is expected to be brought to the floor alongside a “conservative” immigration bill crafted by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. It's unclear how much support the bills may receive.
The new legislation also addresses family separations, something Democrats have long criticized the Trump administration for enforcing. It would ensure that minors who enter the country illegally are not separated from their parents or legal guardians while in custody of the Department of Homeland Security -- essentially allowing them to be detained with their families.
The Trump administration has long supported a more zero-tolerance policy, decrying existing loopholes in the system.
The legislative fix also calls for an end to the visa lottery system, instead reallocating 55,000 visas to a merit-based program. It does not, however, change the number of visas granted overall.
Under “catch and release,” which the Trump administration has opposed, DHS can detain certain illegal immigrants only for a few days before releasing them and ordering them to appear later at removal hearings.