Rep. Michael McCaul Thursday applauded President Donald Trump for signing an executive order to keep families detained at the border together, but still called it a “temporary sort of band-aid measure.”
He also told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” that congressional Democrats are more interested in making the matter a campaign issue than they are passing legislation that will bring solutions to the issue.
“What we need to do is close the legal loopholes and provide a legal permanent fix,” the Texas Republican, told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” in advance of a vote on a bill he and Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., have co-sponsored that is set for later in the day.
“We have a permanent fix so that that when they come in the country they are detained and removed,” McCaul added. “The president says he is 1,000 percent behind this bill.”
Meanwhile, he said no Democrats have spoken with him about solving the problem, and he thinks that’s because “they are completely interested in making this a campaign issue. Even though the president resolved it for the family separation issue on a temporary basis, they condemn them for that I don’t think they have any interested in working constructively with us but rather use this in the 2018 midterm elections.”
The lawmaker explained that currently, immigrants from Mexico who enter the United States are treated differently than immigrants coming in from Central America, but “our bill treats them the same.”
“If you come from Mexico, you are detained and removed from the country,” said McCaul. “If you come from Central America, you are treated differently. Our bill treats them the same. So we detain — we don’t split the family up like is currently done. We keep the family together and then we remove them from the country.”
Standards on filing asylum claims are also changed under the bill, he told the program.
“They could have an asylum claim, but we changed that standard so it’s more difficult than just saying the magic words, ‘credible fear of persecution,'” said McCaul.
The bill is one of two set to go through the House on Thursday. The Goodlatte/McCaul bill is considered the more moderate of the two, but President Donald Trump has said he would support either.
“They are both very similar, and since they have my border security bill with $25 billion of funding for the president’s wall and has the four pillars that we talked about, and that also being the Visa lottery elimination, chain migration, and a DACA fix,” said McCaul.
“It’s a slightly different on the DACA piece where they are giving merit-based visas they can apply for, but, also any immigrant can apply for.”
McCaul said he expects a majority of Republicans will vote for the moderate bill, but “unfortunately, we have no Democrats supporting this, even though we have a DACA fix to it.”
The first bill vote is expected at about 1 p.m. Thursday, followed by another vote on the second bill at around 3 p.m., added McCaul.
Meanwhile, he said he hopes the Senate would do away with its parliamentary procedure and “get to the simple majority vote of 51” when the legislation reaches that chamber.
“If they did that, they could pass the bill that hopefully we’re going to pass today,” said McCaul.
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