Ryan: House voting Thursday on bill to keep families together
© Greg Nash

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHouse Ethics Committee informs Duncan Hunter he can no longer vote after guilty plea Duncan Hunter pleads guilty after changing plea Trump campaign steps up attacks on Biden MORE (R-Wis.) said that the House will vote Thursday on legislation to keep immigrant families together amid an uproar over a Trump administration policy that has resulted in the separations of thousands of migrant children from their families. 

Ryan confirmed Wednesday morning that the lower chamber is moving forward with votes on two immigration bills, telling reporters he doesn't think a narrow bill addressing family separations is the best path forward.

"The administration says it wants Congress to act, and we are. Tomorrow, the House will vote on legislation to keep families together," he said during a press conference.


"Under this bill, when people are being prosecuted for illegally crossing the border families will remain together under [Department of Homeland Security] custody throughout the length of their legal proceedings," referring to a compromise GOP bill.

While that measure and a conservative-backed bill from Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview MORE (R-Va.) face uphill battles on the floor, Ryan said leadership isn't currently focused any legislation that solely addresses family separations.

"We're trying to pass this legislation right now. This is a very good compromise legislation that not only solves the child separation issue at the border. It also solves the border. It solves DACA," he continued, referring to an Obama-era program that protected young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally.

"So right now we're focused on this legislation that's coming to the floor tomorrow and then when other situations arise ... we'll cross that bridge when we get to it."

House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) -- whose name is on both bills -- said he's "optimistic" the compromise measure will pass, but noted whipping efforts are still taking place.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTrump, first lady take part in National Christmas Tree lighting Congress races to beat deadline on shutdown GOP lawmakers, Trump campaign rip 'liberal law professors' testifying in impeachment hearing MORE (R-N.C.) said Tuesday evening that a number of the the conservative group's members are unsold on the compromise bill, even though President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 MORE has attempted to sway members to vote in favor of the measure.

"I think the president obviously is a strong advocate for anything on immigration and at the same time all of us recognize that we've got to go back home and campaign in our districts," he told reporters. "And where the president may have a certain approval rating, ours is many times dictated more on our votes than it is an overall appeal. And so I think everybody looks at trying to represent their districts in the best way that they can. And I don't know that there is such a compelling case to vote for this bill, only because they're not optimistic that it will become law."

Supporters of the compromise legislation expressed concern conservatives could derail their hopes of passing comprehensive immigration reform this year.

"Yeah, I mean we always do [worry about the Freedom Caucus]," McCaul told The Hill. "And the fact is whether it's Meadows or Labrador, you know, they all have a hand in crafting this compromise. ... They were all included in the process and were constructive and Jordan as well."