Trump would back idea of narrow family separation fix, says White House official


WASHINGTON — President Trump would support a narrow legislative fix specifically aimed at halting his administration's policy of separating migrant children from their parents who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, a White House official told NBC News on Wednesday.

Trump prefers that Congress pass one of two immigration bills that the House is set to vote on on Thursday —but if those measures fail, the president would support the narrow fix to the policy, the official said. The president's position was first reported by Bloomberg News.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday that he would back a narrow bill targeting the policy.

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said at a House GOP leadership press conference Wednesday that the House still intends to vote Thursday on a more conservative bill authored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and a compromise immigration bill.

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"Tomorrow, the House will vote on legislation to keep families together," Ryan said. "Under this [compromise] bill, when people are being prosecuted for illegally crossing the border, families will remain together under DHS custody throughout the length of their legal proceedings."

Ryan, however, wasn't exactly confident that the compromise bill would pass.

"I hope that we will be able to pass this tomorrow," he said.

Three House GOP leadership sources told NBC News Wednesday that the effort to try and garner enough votes to pass the compromise immigration bill through the House is continuing Wednesday, but that the president needs to lean in more and state point blank that he wants the compromise bill on his desk.

Trump huddled behind closed doors with House Republicans Tuesday evening on Capitol Hill and said that he is "1000 percent" behind them as they prepare to vote on the two pieces of legislation. Some lawmakers said that he didn't explicitly back the compromise bill.

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