A Republican “compromise” bill reforming US immigration law failed spectacularly in Congress on Wednesday, dealing a blow to President Donald Trump’s efforts to resolve a simmering border crisis that has seen thousands of migrant families separated.
Lawmakers rejected the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act by an overwhelming 121 to 301, with all Democrats opposing the bill, along with dozens of Republican conservatives who argued it did not do enough to rein in illegal immigration.
“While today’s vote is a setback, I will not take a step back… Although this measure did not pass, our fight for immigration reform will continue,” said moderate Republican Congressman Mike Coffman.
The failure now raises the possibility of lawmakers taking up a narrower measure that ends family separations but does not address issues such as border wall funding, protections for young immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children, and curtailment of legal immigration.
“The American people want a holistic approach to reforming immigration laws, that focuses on enforcement first before legalization,” said Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte.
Before the vote, Democrat Adriano Espaillat said on the floor of the House: “We need to finally ask ourselves: Will we continue to be a country of aspirations, or will we continue to be a country of deportation?”