President Donald Trump strongly affirmed on a surprise Friday morning Fox News appearance he would “certainly” not sign a “more moderate” Republican immigration bill that Speaker Paul Ryan is pushing in Congress.
“I’m looking at both of them,” President Trump said speaking of two Republican immigration bills jockeying for support in Congress. Those two bills are Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s immigration bill and Speaker Ryan’s bill. He affirmed “certainly” that he “wouldn’t sign the more moderate one.” The “more moderate” bill of the two is Ryan’s bill.
“I need a bill that gives this country tremendous border security,” Trump told Fox. He added that it has to end catch and release, end the visa lottery, and “we have to have the wall, if we don’t have the wall there’s no bill.”
Trump also touched on the very low number of immigration court appearances by those who are given notices to appear.
“We’re getting MS-13 out by the thousands, but we shouldn’t have to be going in to towns in Long Island and other places and getting them out. You know it’s almost like we’re liberating towns, it’s incredible,” said Trump who lauded the job that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is doing.
President Trump also lauded the new Italian Prime Minister’s “very strong” position on immigration and hit the Democrats for having a weak position on immigration. He said the Democrats are responsible for separation of families under current immigration law. “We’re willing to change it today if they want to get in and negotiate, but they just don’t want to negotiate,” said Trump who accused the Democrats of not wanting security for the country.
The Ryan bill was formally filed on Thursday. When White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked during Thursday afternoon’s press conference whether the president had a preference between the two bills, she sidestepped the opportunity to endorse either and instead repeatedly referred back to a four pillar immigration proposal President Trump laid out in January.
Analysis of the discussion draft of Ryan’s bill has shown that it does not meet those four pillars. White House press staff refused to comment late Thursday afternoon on whether or not the president would stand by the four pillars he has set and oppose Ryan’s bill if it fails to meet those four pillars.
Shortly after President Trump declared his opposition to Ryan’s bill, a Republican leader told the Associated Press that the House would not “take on” immigration bill without the president’s support:
BREAKING: A Republican leader says House won’t `take on’ immigration without Trump support after president suggests opposition.
— The Associated Press (@AP) 15 June 2018
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana