US President Donald Trump has urged Republicans lawmakers to drop their efforts to pass comprehensive immigration legislation until after the November elections that he hopes will see more party members voted into Congress.
The Republican president, faced with a public outcry over his policy that separated children from their migrant parents at the US border with Mexico, tried to refocus the immigration debate on Congress in a series of early posts on Twitter.
Despite Republican control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the party's slim 51-49 majority in the latter chamber makes some Democratic support necessary to pass most legislation.
"Elect more Republicans in November and we will pass the finest, fairest and most comprehensive Immigration Bills anywhere in the world," Trump said on Twitter on Friday.
"Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November. Dems are just playing games, have no intention of doing anything to solves this decades old problem. We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!" he said.
The US House of Representatives on Thursday rejected a bill favoured by conservatives that would have halted the practice of splitting up families and addressed a range of other immigration issues.
The bill was defeated in a 231-193 vote, with 41 Republicans joining the opposition.
The House also postponed, likely until next week, a vote on a more moderate bill in order to try to drum up more support.
Both bills have received backing from Trump but are opposed by Democrats and immigration advocacy groups.
They would fund a wall Trump has proposed along the border with Mexico and also reduce legal migration.
Australian Associated Press