Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., center, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, flanked by Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, talk before a series of votes in the House, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 21, 2018. Yesterday, Rep. Meadows and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., faced off in the chamber as lawmakers struggled to move on immigration amid the political fallout of migrant families being separated at the border. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Staring at a certain defeat, House Republicans canceled votes on their immigration compromise Thursday — an embarrassing setback for leaders who’d thought they’d finally been able to wrangle some unanimity on an issue that’s bedeviled them for years.

Lawmakers emerged from a closed-door meeting to say their new goal is a vote some time next week, after they try to make tweaks to win over conservatives, while keeping moderates on board.

The postponement on the “moderate” compromise bill came just hours after a more conservative bill failed in the House, defeated 231-193 when more than three dozen Republicans joined Democrats to kill it.

Worried about a twin rejection on the same day, GOP leaders decided on a cooling-off period.

At stake is the fate of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” stiffer border security and President Trump’s goals of limiting the chain of family migration and ending the visa lottery.

GOP leaders had thought they had an agreement between conservatives and moderates, but the conservatives balked earlier Thursday, saying there were too many mistakes in the bill.

“You don’t pass a major piece of legislation with there being errors in it, and so I don’t know there’s enough time,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, head of the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus, whose members were decidedly opposed to the compromise....

David Sherfinski contributed to this article.

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