CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Despite President Donald Trump’s support of the immigration bill which failed to pass the House of Representatives last week, U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., was among the 301 lawmakers who voted against the legislation.
The bill, House Resolution 6136, would have created a pathway to citizenship for people who were brought illegally to the country as children. It also provided $25 billion in funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall and a proposal to end family separations at the border, the latter of which is because of a Trump administration policy that enforces prosecution of adults illegally entering the United States.
Trump signed an executive order June 20 ending the separation of families but also maintaining the “zero tolerance” policy regarding criminal prosecution.
Jenkins was one of 121 Republicans to oppose the legislation along with Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., voted in favor of the bill.
Jenkins said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline” he did support an earlier immigration bill, which also would have ended family separations and provided funding for a wall at the southern border.
“What the second bill — the one I voted against — did not have in it that the first bill did, it did not address sanctuary cities. It did not address chain migration, it did not address certain enforcement issues,” he said. “The president specifically said after the second bill just in a tweet in the last day that he wasn’t crazy about either of those bills and knew neither would get any Democratic support.”
Trump tweeted Saturday he “never pushed” for Republicans to vote for either bill because it would not have reached the 60-vote threshold to pass in the Senate. Republicans control the chamber 51-49.
Trump, however, tweeted on June 27 that House Republicans should pass the second immigration bill, despite the likelihood it would not pass the Senate.
“PASSAGE WILL SHOW THAT WE WANT STRONG BORDERS & SECURITY WHILE THE DEMS WANT OPEN BORDERS = CRIME. WIN!” he additionally said.
Trump said on Twitter on June 22 Republicans should “stop wasting their time on Immigration” until after the election.
Jenkins said he wants legislation that provides additional security measures on the border, but added family separations should not be happening.
“I do believe we need to keep families together, but I also believe in strong border security,” he said. “I support funding the wall. I do not support amnesty.”
McKinley said on the June 29 edition of “Talkline” he expects a slimmed-down immigration bill to be introduced after the summer recess.
“One component I think will be on there will be border security again, but I think also is going to be to codify the separation of children,” he said. “No one wants that, but we can’t just deal with it on executive order because executive orders are not permanent.”