Republicans agree immigration affects their political future. They don’t agree on how.

Tens of thousands protest Trump's immigration policies
Tens of thousands protest Trump’s immigration policies 06:19

Washington (CNN)Republicans in Washington are nearly unanimous that addressing the issue of immigration is essential to their political future. But they remain deeply divided as to how.

The conservative wing of the party, emboldened by President Donald Trump’s approach, are pushing hardline measures, including limits on legal immigration and funding for a border wall, that they believe will turn out the base in November and re-elect Trump in 2020.

Members of the party that are more moderate on the issue, which include congressmen who face tough re-elections in the midterms and those closely aligned with the business community, are pushing for legislation that would include a guaranteed way for young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to gain citizenship. They also support scaling back some of the more aggressive approaches like cutting legal immigration.

It’s this sharp divergence that explains the recent dramatic failure of House Republicans to pass any immigration bill — with the so-called Republican compromise bill falling nearly 100 votes short. It was a vote that members on either side of the issue had tied to their chances for success in November.

Nevada Senate candidates walk tightrope on immigration policy
Nevada Senate candidates walk tightrope on immigration policy

With the bill’s failure and no clear path towards a resolution, the party’s internal tension is all but guaranteed to continue to be on full display into the midterm elections and beyond.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to hammer the issue, tweeting Thursday, “Congress must pass smart, fast and reasonable Immigration Laws now. Law Enforcement at the Border is doing a great job, but the laws they are forced to work with are insane.

“When people, with or without children, enter our Country, they must be told to leave without our Country being forced to endure a long and costly trial. Tell the people “OUT,” and they must leave, just as they would if they were standing on your front lawn. Hiring…

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