WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on immigration legislation (all times local):
Veteran Republican strategist Steve Schmidt is renouncing his membership in the Republican Party, in light of the political tempest over the Trump administration immigration policy that separates children from their parents.
Via Twitter, the senior strategist to 2008 Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain says he became a member of a party founded to oppose slavery “and stand for the dignity of human life.”
Schmidt then says: “Today, I renounce my membership in the Republican Party. It is fully the party of Trump.”
Schmidt, who also advised President George W. Bush and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, has been a reliable critic of President Donald Trump. He recently said Trump “beclowned himself” with his criticism of U.S. allies during the recent G-7 summit in Canada.
Mexico’s governmental human rights commission says the Trump administration policy of separating families at the border is “appalling and immoral.”
Commission President Luis Gonzalez Perez on Wednesday called the Trump administration cruel and said the policy is hurting children. Gonzalez Perez urged the nations of Central America — whose migrants are disproportionately affected by the policy — to speak out.
Gonzalez Perez also said that Mexico has to live up to the same standard of humane treatment of migrants that it demands from the United States.
President Donald Trump says on Twitter he is “working on something” related to immigration following his Tuesday night meeting with House Republicans.
Trump is again placing blame on Democrats, asserting that “they won’t give us the votes needed to pass good immigration legislation.” The president’s party, the Republicans, control both chambers in Congress.
He writes, “Republicans want security. But I am working on something – it never ends!”
Republican leaders in the House are trying to put together an immigration bill that would keep immigrant children in detention indefinitely, but housed with their parents.
About two dozen immigrant children have joined Democratic lawmakers on the House floor as the lawmakers decry the separation of families at the border.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas says the detaining of children separately from parents who have crossed the border illegally is child abuse. She says “please, please let our children go to their families.”
The criticism follows Democratic lawmakers confronting President Donald Trump when he visited the Capitol the day before, yelling “stop separating our families!”
But Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., says he is heartened by the debate because he is seeing Americans “standing up for children, standing up for those who are in need.”
As Gutierrez spoke, his microphone was cut off because lawmakers and children gathered around him as he spoke. That was considered a breach of decorum.
Pope Francis is criticizing the Trump administration’s immigration policy, telling a news reporter earlier this week that he agrees with U.S. Catholic bishops that separating children from their parents at a border is “immoral.”
Continuing his criticism Wednesday, he tweeted: “A person’s dignity does not depend on them being a citizen, a migrant, or a refugee. Saving the life of someone fleeing war and poverty is an act of humanity.”
Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has quoted the Bible in defending the policy, which calls for every person who crosses the border illegally to be prosecuted and detained. The result has been more than 2,000 children detained without a guardian and no clear plan on how the families will be reunited.
Pope Francis told Reuters in a wide-ranging interview Sunday that he agrees with recent statements by U.S. Catholic bishops who called the separation of children from their parents “contrary to our Catholic values.” He said “it’s not easy, but populism is not the solution.”
About a dozen protesters heckled Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen about the Trump administration’s immigration policy as she ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Washington.
The protesters entered MXDC Cocina Mexicana Tuesday and chanted “Shame!” and “End family separation!”
In a video posted on Facebook by Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America, the protesters yelled, “if kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace.”
Nielsen paid her bill and left after about 10 or 15 minutes.
A department spokesman tweeted that during a work dinner, the secretary and her staff heard from a small group of protesters who “share her concern with our current immigration laws.”
House Republican leaders searching for a way to tamp down the controversy over family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border are getting little clear direction from President Donald Trump.
Trump visited the Capitol on Tuesday to discuss immigration, and told House Republicans he is behind their rival immigration bills “1,000 percent.” Whether Trump’s support can push any immigration measure through the divided GOP majority remains a question.
Republican lawmakers are increasingly fearful of a voter backlash in November. They met with Trump with hopes of finding a solution that holds to his hard-line immigration policy and ends the practice of taking migrant children from parents charged with entering the country illegally.
As Trump left the session, a half-dozen House Democrats confronted him and yelled, “Stop separating our families!”