The stage is set. It is time to pass the immigration reform the American people have waited for since electing Donald Trump in 2016. And Congress falls short.
On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order ending the practice of separating illegal immigrant children from their families at the southern border. But by not removing children whose parents are being criminally prosecuted, the administration’s policy does not meet the requirements of the Flores case settlement, which limits the detention of children to 20 days.
So, what does Trump do on Thursday? He filed a motion to the court to alter the Flores requirements. This keeps Trump’s “tough on immigration” stance by ending “catch and release,” while also seeking to keep families together.
“Relaxing these requirements would permit family units to be kept together in appropriate facilities,” Justice Department lawyers wrote in Thursday’s court filing.
But this is not a sustainable solution; it is just a delay.
Now Congress is up to bat. But Congressional Republicans struck out on Thursday when they failed to pass a conservative bill because moderate Republicans found it too harsh.
The House delayed a vote on a more moderate bill to Friday, but that vote was ultimately delayed again to next week by Republicans because of its expected defeat. This time, Republicans find the moderate bill too lenient despite Trump’s endorsement.
The debate hasn’t even begun with the Democrats in the House.
If Republicans want to send a strong message they can govern effectively before the midterm elections in November, they better get something done on immigration, and quickly.
The clock is most definitely ticking.