White House reverses course, says Trump supports House GOP immigration bill

Key Points
  • White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah, in a written statement, said the president would sign the new package.
  • Earlier in the day, Trump said he would not sign a compromise immigration bill reached by House Republican centrists and conservatives.
  • The measure would offer a pathway to citizenship for "Dreamers," fund the president's proposed border wall and end the diversity visa "lottery" system.
President Donald Trump
Leah Mills | Reuters

President Donald Trump reversed course on Friday and threw his support behind a House Republican immigration bill.

The House next week is expected to consider the measure, which offers a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, funds Trump's proposed border wall and ends the diversity visa "lottery" system. The chamber will also take up a separate bill that meets more conservative demands.

White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah, in a written statement, said the president would sign either bill.

In an interview earlier in the day, Trump had expressed opposition to the compromise legislation.

"I certainly wouldn't sign the more moderate one," the president said.

House GOP emerges from meeting with no final deal to protect young immigrants

The president later tweeted about his goals in an immigration bill, which appear to align with the Republican proposal. Trump said that "Any Immigration Bill MUST HAVE full funding for the Wall, end Catch & Release, Visa Lottery and Chain, and go to Merit Based Immigration." Still, he did not explicitly reverse course on whether he would back the GOP legislation.

Some media reports had said the White House was telling Republicans in Congress Friday that the president misspoke earlier in the day.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has previously said Trump would support the measure. Ryan believes it aligns with the "four pillars" the president seeks in an immigration bill.

On Friday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the GOP measure "unworthy of America." She contended the fact that Trump said he would not sign it shows how low his standards are.

Even before the Trump's statement, it was unclear if the legislation could get enough support from House Republicans to pass the chamber.

The proposal aims to assuage concerns of two flanks of the GOP, which controls the House. Centrist Republicans seek a solution for young undocumented immigrants stuck in legal limbo. Conservatives want to boost border security to crack down on illegal crossings.

Read more about the legislation here.