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A Republican "compromise" bill reforming U.S. immigration law failed spectacularly in Congress on Wednesday, dealing a blow to President Donald Trump's efforts to resolve a simmering border crisis that has seen thousands of migrant families separated.

With television and social media awash with images of crying young children torn from migrant families, Republicans want to pass a narrower measure addressing those separations should the broader bill fail. Trump, whose support was viewed as crucial to winning over conservative members, swooped into a meeting with House Republicans last week for a meeting that GOP leaders hoped would rally support for their compromise package. It went down 231-193, the latter figure being GOP supporters.

Still, the GOP must now try to come up with its own family separation bill or else be left on the sidelines of an issue that's roiled the country for weeks.

Speaker Paul Ryan had labelled the legislation "a great consensus bill" and tried putting the best face on the likely outcome. But that outcome is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican who has been marshalling Republican immigration proposals in the House, urged his colleagues to support the bill, calling it a chance at immigration reform that had earned the White House's support. "It's going to be a long summer until we get this done".

Adding restrictions on family-based legal immigration. Sixty-nine percent of respondents told Pew they feel "very" or "somewhat" sympathetic toward undocumented immigrants, up slightly from 63 percent in 2013.

This spring they launched a petition that could have led to House passage of liberal-leaning measures creating a pathway to citizenship, bills backed by Democrats but opposed by most Republicans. They have blasted that provision as "amnesty".

Democrats denounced it as "anti-immigrant", voting against it along with 112 Republicans who felt it was insufficiently tough.

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"We are writing to request an investigation into the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy - as well as its policy of separating children from their parents at the border - and the partial reversal of these policies through President Trump's executive order on June 20, 2018", they said in the letter.

"This administration needs to present a plan ASAP of how to unify the kids and how to deal with border", Schumer said. The practice was abandoned after Trump ordered the families kept together.

He wants Congress to fix the law. Some 2,000 children remain separated. They also asked her, "How does he sleep at night?" Some 500 minors have been reunited so far, officials said.

Trump ran for office on a platform that included tough anti-immigration language and has in office taken a hard-line position on migration from several Muslim-majority countries and also from Central America.

The Senate is trying craft bipartisan legislation keeping families together. The small group is made up of unlikely bedfellows: for Republicans, Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Democratic Sens. "Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Dick Durbin, D-Il., are representing Democrats" interest. He called it an "emergency issue". "We can give them 100% of what they wanted, and double it, they still wouldn't pass it".

"While not a ideal piece of legislation, this bill would have funded a wall, provided access for those tasked with securing our borders, and given due respect to the family unit", Bishop said.

The separations sparked widespread condemnation in the United States, including from within Trump's own Republican Party, and overseas.