Stephen Miller: White House expects to back both GOP immigration bills
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller told House conservatives in the Republican Study Committee at a Wednesday meeting that the Trump White House expects to support both immigration bills coming to the House floor next week.
Miller, a hardliner on immigration, reiterated the administration’s support for House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s (R-Va.) bill backed by immigration hardliners but said the White House would likely also back a second bill being crafted by leadership, a source inside the room told The Hill.
That second bill will include all four of the pillars that President Trump has demanded be a part of any immigration bill.
Miller was attempting to sell conservatives on the immigration compromise currently being crafted by the caucus, and indicated the White House likes where the process is headed.
“I think both the bills are being finalized right now but we strongly support what they’re doing,” Miller told reporters after the meeting. “The White House supports the effort to arrive at a bill that will get 218 votes.”
The four pillars demanded by Trump are a pathway to citizenship for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program; increased border security including $25 billion for a wall on the Mexican border; the elimination of the visa lottery program; and limits on family-based immigration or “chain migration.”
The legislative text for the compromise bill is expected to be released in the coming days.
It follows weeks of talks involving conservatives, centrists and leaders of the House GOP conference about how to move forward on immigration.
Miller’s endorsement of the unwritten second bill suggests the legislation would include principles demanded by conservatives given his own position on immigration. But it’s not clear that conservative lawmakers will embrace the bill over fears it will give “amnesty” to people who cross the border illegally.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) spoke with Trump Wednesday morning about the bill, adding he planned to speak with him later in the day.
He said the bill would be released as soon as possible to allow for a vote next week.
Conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus have signaled they’ll support the rule to allow the votes, but it’s not clear they’ll back the compromise bill being drafted. House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said they need to see the final legislative text before they can take an official position.
“Ask Stephen [Miller] if he’s seen a bill. Maybe he’s seen one in North Korea, but I didn’t see one in Washington D.C.,” he told CNN.
Bringing the Goodlatte bill to the floor would effectively end the discharge petition effort launched by centrists, but a leader of the petition drive insisted their work would continue.
“This is still active and I told my colleagues in a communiqué last night that we have to maintain ourselves committed to the petition. Because the petition is what has given us strength, that’s pushing forward this whole effort,” said Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.).
Democrats are signaling they’ll oppose a compromise bill based on Trump’s four pillars, and immigration activist Frank Sharry said that if Miller supports the compromise, it is unlikely to be backed by the immigration reform community on the left.
Rafael Bernel contributed.
Updated 9 p.m.
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