GOP lawmaker: Immigration fight won't hurt party because 'Americans care more about Americans'

GOP lawmaker: Immigration fight won't hurt party because 'Americans care more about Americans'
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Rep. Pete KingPeter (Pete) KingLawmakers introduce bill taxing e-cigarettes to pay for anti-vaping campaigns Democrat who opposed Trump, Clinton impeachment inquiries faces big test House GOP criticizes impeachment drive as distracting from national security issues MORE (R-N.Y.) on Thursday said he does not believe Republicans inability to pass immigration reform will hurt the party in the midterms.

"Americans care more about Americans," King explained to Talking Points Memo.

His comment came moments before the House rejected a hardline immigration bill from Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). The House also postponed a vote on a compromise immigration bill backed by GOP centrists to Friday. 

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The compromise bill would seek $25 billion for Trump’s border wall, offer a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants and keep migrant families together. 

King told TPM that Trump's executive order to end the policy that separated families at the border eased much of the pressure on lawmakers to act on immigration.

“I think it will tone down,” he said. “This immediate crisis seems to be going away. And if they aren’t arresting families every weekend, then yeah, it’s going away, from the public eye. And if it’s not in the public eye, if you don’t have the dramatic footage, there is always another issue that comes along. There’s a new issue every week.”

Trump caved on Wednesday and signed an order that stopped children from being separated from their parents when they were caught crossing the border illegally.

But it remains unclear how or when the over 2,000 children already separated from their families will be reunited.

King said he supports Trump's policy at the border, saying "the president is absolutely right that we should be detaining more of these people."

“You need some deterrent so they don’t think that anyone who wants to come across the border, as long as they have children, can do so. On the other hand, we shouldn’t be doing it unless we have all the structures in place to accommodate the families right away.”

King said that if the House fails to pass an immigration bill attention would shift to see what the Senate could do.

But senators rejected immigration bills earlier this year and have struggled to coalesce around any proposal.