WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Congress's highest-ranking Republican on Thursday said he could not guarantee passage of legislation in coming days that some lawmakers hoped would address the uncertain status of hundreds of thousands of young "Dreamer" immigrants.
"We won't guarantee passage," said Paul Ryan, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, at a press briefing where he described the legislation as a "very good compromise."
"We want to give members the ability to express their positions and I do hope this passes,” he said.
The Dreamers are hundreds of thousands of young people, mostly Hispanic, who illegally entered the country years ago as children and are now protected from deportation by an Obama-era program - known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) - that Republican President Donald Trump wants to end.
Congress missed a March 5 deadline set by Trump for replacing DACA, established in 2012, with a new law to protect the Dreamers. Lawmakers were unable to bridge differences.
In the latest push for a solution, Ryan plans to bring up two bills for House votes next week, but prospects of passage for both were not encouraging.
One is a hardline conservative Republican measure that would sharply reduce legal immigration, build a wall on the Mexican border and deny Dreamers the chance of citizenship.
The other is meant to be a bipartisan compromise, but its exact contents have not been finalized.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Writing by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Chizu Nomiyama and Cynthia Osterman)
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Updated Date: Jun 15, 2018 00:06 AM