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The major change unveiled Tuesday would loosen rules that now limit the amount of time minors can be held to 20 days, according to a GOP source familiar with the measure. Instead, the children could be detained for extended periods - alongside their parents.

Calling the shots as his West Wing clears out, President Donald Trump sees his hard-line immigration stance as a winning issue heading into a midterm election he views as a referendum on his protectionist policies. Trump called for Congress to approve the so-called third option on Tuesday. "The president is exhausted of watching people kick it down the road and not take responsibility and not fix the problems that we have".

The issue boiled over Tuesday at a House hearing on an unrelated subject when protesters with babies briefly shut down proceedings.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters he's reaching out to Democrats for bipartisan backing. The House will vote on this bill, and a more conservative one written by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., on Thursday.

If a mother and child enter the US illegally, the mother is sent to a federal jail or other detention center to await prosecution; since children can not be held in an adult facility, they're put into the custody of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement. It does not call for family separation.

"U.S. border officials need better tools to control the system, keep out violent criminals, and identify those who may be seeking to illegitimately take advantage of our asylum laws", Meadows said. Trump's latest demands add even greater pressure on congressional Republicans to pass legislation despite deep, long-standing divides within the party over how to handle both legal and illegal immigration.

Democrats, like many Republicans, abhor the family separations.

Increased judicial capacity is the cornerstone of several of the plans circulating among Republicans. "There's nothing in this bill that stops the prosecution of asylum-seekers". "He would sign either the Goodlatte or the leadership bills", White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement.

"I hate the children being taken away", he said. Both bills have that.

She told reporters at a contentious White House briefing Thursday that Democrats "have refused to come to the table and be part of a solution".

From afar, ailing Sen.

Almost 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the new "zero-tolerance" policy that refers all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution. The administration has the power to rescind this policy.

Democrats Run to the Border to Decry Trump's Splitting of Families
Sessions, too, is wielding his own religious argument, having used a Bible passage to defend his zero-tolerance policy . The administration wants to send a message, said Maine Sen.


White House officials have privately embraced the border policy as a negotiating tactic to win votes for legislation to fulfill the president's pledge to build a border wall and to tighten the nation's immigration laws. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate passes 6B defense bill Manchin becomes final Democrat to back bill preventing separation of immigrant families Live coverage: Federal Bureau of Investigation chief, Justice IG testify on critical report MORE (D-Calif.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzMcCain calls on Trump to rescind family separation policy: It's "an affront to the decency of the American people" Cruz announces bill to end separation of immigrant families The Hill's 12:30 Report - Sponsored by Delta Air Lines - Furor grows over child separation policy MORE (R-Texas) and John CornynJohn CornynTrump plan to claw back billion in spending in peril Trump digs in amid uproar on zero tolerance policy Amendments fuel resentments within Senate GOP MORE (R-Texas.).

Former Trump senior adviser Steve Bannon said the president is emphasizing the policies that brought him to the White House.

House Republican leaders expressed puzzlement at Trump's reaction - White House officials had been closely involved in Ryan's negotiations - and said they were shelving their plans to gauge support for the bill among their members until they could get clarification from the White House.

Trump will meet with House Republicans next week to discuss the issue just days after his comments during an impromptu Fox News interview on the White House driveway almost derailed the planned House vote, according to a House GOP official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the plans ahead of an official announcement.

At issue is a new "zero tolerance" policy issued by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, under which anyone who crosses the border illegally will be prosecuted.

CORNISH: On another issue, the president tried to blame Democrats for the situation on the border where children are being separated from their parents.

Trump's words are causing confusion among GOP leaders, who have said Trump backs the compromise.

"We want to make sure that the families are not divided, and yet we do have to secure the border", said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., who helped negotiate the bill.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement frequently asks cities or counties to detain prisoners after they have served their sentences so they can be picked up for deportation, and many do so.

Politico obtained a working draft of the bill.

Anxious that the lack of progress on his signature border wall will make him look "soft", according to one adviser, Trump has unleashed a series of tweets playing up the dangers posed by members of the MS-13 gang - which make up a minuscule percentage of those who cross the border. "He can fix it tomorrow if he wants to, and if he doesn't want to, he should own up to the fact that he's doing it", said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY.


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