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Ryan Says House To Vote Wednesday On Immigration

Health and Human Services Secretary says his department can’t reunite separated kids with their migrant parents as long as the parents are in detention

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., announces that he will not run for re-election at the end of his term, Wednesday, April 11, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the House will vote Wednesday on a broad Republican immigration bill. But he’s not predicting it passes.

The Wisconsin Republican told reporters Tuesday the measure contains “the seeds of consensus” among Republicans on immigration. He said those issues will be dealt with “hopefully now, but if not, later.” The bill’s defeat seems likely.

Ryan is also declining to discuss a narrower bill Republicans are considering that would focus on curbing the Trump administration’s separation of migrant families when they enter the U.S. illegally.

He said discussing that bill would “undercut” leaders’ efforts to win votes for the wider-ranging measure. It would give young immigrants a chance at citizenship, fund President Donald Trump’s border wall and require the government to keep migrant families together.

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Azar said can’t reunite kids if parents detained

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said his department can’t reunite separated kids with their migrant parents as long as the parents are in detention awaiting resolution of their immigration cases.

Azar told the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday that current federal law only allows a 20-day period for parents in immigration detention to keep their children with them. After that, children must be placed in HHS care.

Azar asked senators to change that law.

Questioned by Democratic senators, Azar refused to say how long some 2,000 separated children would remain in HHS shelters. He said HHS conducts extensive vetting of parents to make sure they’re not traffickers masquerading as parents.

He didn’t address the issue of parents who are released from immigration custody while their cases are heard.

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