People gather at Saint Mark Catholic Church for a solidarity with migrants vigil, Thursday, June 21, 2018 in El Paso, Texas. President Donald Trump's order ending the policy of separating immigrant families at the border leaves a host of unanswered questions, including what happens to the more than 2,300 children already taken from their parents and where the government will house all the newly detained migrants in a system already bursting at the seams. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Latest: Pentagon seeking space for adult migrants

June 22, 2018 - 5:12 pm
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on immigration legislation (all times local):

5 p.m.

The Pentagon says it is searching nationwide for space on military installations that could be used to house adult migrants who have tried to cross the U.S. border illegally.

In a brief statement, spokesman Lt. Col. Jamie Davis says this is part of "prudent planning" in case the Department of Homeland Security asks for the Pentagon's help. He says there has not yet been any DHS request.

Such planning is standard procedure for the Pentagon.

On Thursday the Pentagon said it would support a request by the Department of Health and Human Services to find temporary shelter on military installations for up to 20,000 unaccompanied children who are detained for illegally crossing the border.

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1:35 p.m.

Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California has aired audio on the House floor of sobbing children in a detention center crying out for their parents.

He was quickly gaveled by the presiding officer, Rep. Karen Handel, R-Ga., who told him to stop playing the audio because it was against House rules.

Lieu responded that Americans need to hear the tape.

The dramatic audio, first reported by ProPublica and later provided to The Associated Press, roiled the national debate over the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" approach to border crossings. The policy has resulted in more than 2,300 children being separated from their parents.

Within a minute, Lieu yielded back his time and the audio was cut off.

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11:45 a.m.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Democrats and the news media exploited for political purposes a widely circulated photograph of a 2-year-old Honduran girl as her mother is searched near the U.S.-Mexico border.

It was widely assumed the toddler and her mother had been separated under President Donald Trump's now-rescinded policy that resulted in separating families entering the U.S. illegally.

But the girl's father told The Washington Post on Thursday that his daughter and her mother are together.

Sanders tweeted Friday: "It's shameful that dems and the media exploited this photo of a little girl to push their agenda. She was not separated from her mom. The separation here is from the facts."

She called on Democrats to help Trump fix the immigration system — after Trump said Republicans should wait until after November's congressional elections.

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10:15 a.m. President Donald Trump is accusing Democrats of circulating "phony stories of sadness and grief," amid a global uproar over his 'zero tolerance' policy for illegal border crossings.

Calling for a "strong" border, he says: "We cannot allow our Country to be overrun by illegal immigrants as the Democrats tell their phony stories of sadness and grief, hoping it will help them in the elections."

He adds: "Obama and others had the same pictures, and did nothing about it!'"

Trump issued an executive order Wednesday to move to halt family separations, saying he was affected by the same images.

In another tweet Friday, Trump backed off calling on Congress to act on immigration, telling Republicans not to be "wasting their time" trying to pass legislation before the November midterms.

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10:10 a.m.

Two leading Republicans say they'll keep trying to push a GOP immigration bill through the House. That's despite a damaging tweet by President Donald Trump urging them to wait until after the November elections.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says it's "important" that his chamber shows it's addressing the issue, which is an important one to voters. And House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte says he will "absolutely" keep pushing the legislation because GOP lawmakers want to continue.

Trump has tweeted that "Republicans should stop wasting their time" on the issue until after the elections, when he thinks the GOP will gain strength in Congress.

That dealt a serious blow to leaders' efforts to win support for legislation that already lacked enough votes to pass the House because of GOP divisions.

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7:30 a.m.

Days after insisting that Congress act immediately, President Donald Trump is telling Republicans to "stop wasting their time" on immigration until after the November elections.

In Friday morning tweets, Trump says Democrats have "no intention" of supplying the votes necessary to pass legislation on the issue and says "We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!"

Trump had travelled to Capitol Hill as recently as Tuesday to sell GOP lawmakers on embracing immigration bills pushed by House leadership and to take action to halt the separation of migrant families at the border.

Republican leaders delayed a vote Thursday on what was billed as a compromise measure to fund border security and address legal status for young immigrants brought to the U.S. unlawfully as children, as they try to win more support for the bill.

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2:40 a.m.

The House Republican immigration overhaul is dangling precariously. It is imperiled by stubborn differences between conservative and moderate factions — and by President Donald Trump's running commentary about a bill he only half-heartedly supported and then suggested would never become law.

Republican leaders were twice forced to postpone final voting, first until Friday and then punting it to next week, as negotiators made a last-ditch push for support.

They were trying to persuade colleagues to seize the moment and tackle immigration problems by approving the bill, which includes $25 billion for Trump's border wall and a path to citizenship for young immigrants who have lived in the U.S. illegally since childhood.

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