U.S. Congress divided on immigration crisis, Trump seeks wall funding

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U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday defeated second Republican-drafted immigration bill despite President Donald Trump's last-minute plea and amid chaos over reunion of separated families who illegally cross the U.S. border.

The bill evolved to address two urgent crises triggered by Trump's hardline immigration agenda: his cancellation of a program that shielded from deportation hundreds of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, known as Dreamers, and the "zero-tolerance" policy which led to the family separations.

The 121-301 failure of the compromise between moderate and conservative Republican factions continues months of a stalemate on the issue.

With television and social media awash with images and wails of young children torn from parents, many Republicans want to pass a narrower measure addressing those separations before Congress leaves at week's end for its July 4 break.

Democrats and centrist Republicans from swing districts say the GOP could suffer because the party, steered by Trump's anti-immigrant harangues, could be alienating pivotal moderate voters.

After weeks of bickering in the Republican caucus, the issue of how to address immigration came down to two votes in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A compromise version of the immigration bill stipulated that migrant children will not be separated from their parents, detained for illegally crossing the border.

Despite the President demanding - via Twitter - that House Republicans pass the "strong but fair" immigration bill, the House Republicans did not, in fact, pass the muscley but attractive immigration bill.

Trump ran for office on a platform that included tough anti-immigration language and has in office taken a hard-line position on migration from several Muslim-majority countries and also from Central America.

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The plan had always been to pivot to a more narrow family separation bill if a compromise couldn't be found, but even that has proven hard. GOP leadership promised a vote on a compromise bill at a later date if they declined to sign a so-called "discharge petition".

Mr Trump has issued an executive order reversing his own family separation policy, but around 2,000 children remain removed from relatives.

Immigration has always been among the most intractable issues in American politics, with Congress repeatedly failing to pass comprehensive reform.

The bill would have provided more than $7 billion to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to build new containment centers to ensure undocumented families are not separated while they await a hearing before an immigration judge.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to march in dozens of US cities on Saturday to protest family separations carried out by the Trump administration, according to organizers.

"There is no excuse for today's failed immigration vote", Roberts said, accusing Love of "showboating in an election year - focusing more on headlines and press releases than doing the work it takes to bring people together and solve problems". The bill will be back again eventually, but there's no telling what will be added or subtracted before the next push to the president's desk begins.

The Senate is trying craft bipartisan legislation keeping families together. "They've failed to give the president the money he needs to do that, and there has to be accountability", he said.