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After delay, House could vote next week on compromise immigration bill Katko supports

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
Protesters sit outside of Rep. John Katko's office in Syracuse Thursday.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on an immigration bill next week, meant to be a compromise among Republicans. Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) worked on the bill. This comes after a more conservative immigration bill failed in the House Thursday. 

Earlier this week, Katko said passing immigration reform would not be easy.

“If we can push it through the House, and it’s a big if, it’s going to be close, I think there’s going to be a tremendous amount of pressure brought to bear in the Senate, if we can get it out of the House,” Katko said.

The compromise bill would address President Donald Trump’s four pillars of immigration reform, including funding for border security and a solution for those brought into the country illegally as children.

Protesters outside of Katko’s office in Syracuse Thursday, including Tom Keck, a political science professor at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, said the compromise bill falls short of real reform.

“It does nothing to solve the family separation crisis," Keck said. "It does nothing to reunite the 2,000 children who’ve already been separated from their families. It devotes billions of additional dollars to Donald Trump’s border security agenda. It does not solve the problem at all.”

Dana Balter, who is running in the Democratic primary to unseat Katko in November, echoed those concerns.

"This bill, that he has been bragging about putting together, does nothing to help those children and those families," Balter said. "He has stood by for weeks while our government commits these atrocities and has been silent. He didn’t say anything until the night before the vice president came to town to do a fundraiser for him."

Katko spoke about the compromise bill Tuesday. Part of the bill is supposed to keep children and parents together as much as possible when they are caught crossing the border.

“The bill that I helped put together and craft is going to have a provision in it this week that is going to address that issue," Katko said. "I’m happy to say that we’re probably going to get a solution this week, if we can get enough Republicans to vote for it.”

No Democrats are expected to support the compromise bill.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.