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House GOP leaders will whip conservative immigration bill

House GOP leaders will whip conservative immigration bill
© Greg Nash

House GOP leaders on Wednesday will whip a conservative immigration bill authored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteIG poised to reignite war over FBI’s Clinton case McCain, Coons immigration bill sparks Trump backlash What I've learned as a native-born 'dreamer': We are a nation of assimilated immigrants MORE (R-Va.), GOP sources told The Hill.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Defense: Latest on spending fight - House passes stopgap with defense money while Senate nears two-year budget deal | Pentagon planning military parade for Trump | Afghan war will cost B in 2018 House passes stopgap spending measure with defense money MORE (R-Wis.) made the call Tuesday afternoon. And Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseGOP to play hardball with Dems on funding bill GOP lawmakers help people injured in train crash Google searches for MS-13 spike after Trump’s State of the Union speech MORE (R-La.) informed his whip team of the development during a meeting Tuesday evening, according to a source in the room.

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The vote-counting effort fulfills a promise Ryan made to conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus, but there’s no guarantee the bill can secure enough votes to come to the floor.

Last month, the Speaker vowed that he’d only bring up the Goodlatte bill for a vote if it had the support of 218 Republicans — an extremely high bar. In exchange, Freedom Caucus members agreed to back a funding bill to avert a government shutdown.

The Goodlatte bill is more conservative than proposals being considered in the Senate, as well as President TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: 'We have a Napoleon in the making' MORE’s own immigration framework.

The House bill calls for a path to legal status — not citizenship — for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who took part in the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The legislation also authorizes funding for Trump’s border wall, ends family-based migration and scraps the diversity visa lottery program.

It also includes tougher border-enforcement measures: The bill would crack down on sanctuary cities, boost penalties for deported criminals who try to re-enter the U.S. and requires that employers use an electronic verification system known as E-Verify to make sure they hire legal workers.

Goodlatte said Tuesday evening that GOP leaders will whip lawmakers on a modified version of his immigration measure this week.

The bulk of the changes, according to a summary provided to The Hill, were made to appease the agricultural industry's concerns over the guest worker program that is established by the legislation.

The tweaks include giving farmers and agricultural employers more time to prepare for the new E-Verify requirements and extending the standard visa term from 18 months to 24 months.

The new version also makes intentionally overstaying a visa for more than 90 days a misdemeanor only for those who enter the country after the law is enacted and eliminates a provision that would have required states to be reimbursed for deploying the National Guard at the southern border.

The House whip efforts come as the Senate debates how to provide protections for the 700,000 DACA recipients. Trump has unilaterally rescinded the program and has given Congress until March 5 to find a permanent solution for these immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, typically referred to as "Dreamers."

Melanie Zanona contributed.

Updated: 9:55 p.m.