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House conservatives prep own DACA bill

A group of House conservatives are set to introduce their own proposal on immigration this week — a move that could seek to pull ongoing bipartisan negotiations to the right.

Reps. Bob Goodlatte and Raul Labrador said the bill was expected Wednesday — with Goodlatte telling President Donald Trump about the effort in a White House meeting with bipartisan lawmakers Tuesday and Labrador speaking with reporters earlier in the day.

The meeting with Trump was largely focused on resolving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which Trump has opted to end but says he wants preserved legislatively in exchange for border security and immigration reforms.

The bill comes from a handful of conservative Republican members from Speaker Paul Ryan’s immigration working group — though not some key moderate members of that group. The team had a meeting at the White House the Tuesday before Christmas, which included Reps. Mike McCaul, the House Homeland Security Committee chairman; Goodlatte, the House Judiciary Committee chairman; Labrador, the chairman of the immigration subcommittee on Judiciary; Martha McSally, the chairwoman of the border subcommittee on Homeland; and Mark Meadows, the conservative House Freedom Caucus chairman.

The bill is expected to include heavy border security, mandatory verification of workers and beefed-up interior immigration enforcement. The e-verify worker verification piece is one of the most controversial tenets of immigration reform, seen only as a fair trade for legalizing all estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US by negotiators in the center and on the left.

The bill is seen as an opening offer — even as Democrats and some moderate Republicans push for the issue to be resolved by the time government funding runs out in 10 days.

In contrast, another member of the Ryan working group, Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd, on Monday unveiled a proposal with a bipartisan partner, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Whip Pete Aguilar, that focused on border security and DACA alone.

If the bill passes the House, it would need support from at least nine Democrats in the Senate to send it to the president for his signature.