GOP accuses Dems of holding budget deal hostage over DACA

10 January, 2018, 01:30 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • President Donald Trump leaves the White House on Friday for a weekend with Republican lawmakers at Camp David in Maryland

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn made the point directly to Trump during the meeting, saying that House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell both told the President at a legislative retreat with Republicans over the weekend that only a bill with Trump's support would move forward for a vote.

His comments came during a rare, lengthy public meeting with bipartisan members of Congress. NumbersUSA, a top immigration control group, said that Trump's focus on border security and giving a lower priority to changes to immigration law was glossing over a top issue to his supporters.

Trump praised the "distinguished group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers" in the room and repeated his immigration priorities to improve border security, end chain migration, and build a border wall.

Strategists say the key to winning that constituency comes from Trump, who has the ability to deem whether the plan makes good on his campaign promises. "When somebody gets picked in the lottery, we are not getting the best people".

In the background, details are still being worked out on what a plan to help recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, would look like, and a bipartisan group of Senate lawmakers led by Democrat Dick Durbin of IL and Republican Lindsey Graham of SC continues to negotiate. "And if you take it that further step, I'll take the heat, I don't care".

At one point, Sen.

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"You are not that far away from comprehensive immigration reform", he told Senator Lindsey Graham, after the Republican senator floated the idea of more sweeping legislation. Democrats have suggested they would risk a government shutdown if spending bills do not include a measure that helps the almost 800,000 DACA beneficiary population.

"I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with", Trump said during a Cabinet Room meeting with a bipartisan group of almost two dozen lawmakers, adding, "I am very much reliant upon the people in this room".

Trump has placed great focus on two other demands: ending the diversity program that grants 50,000 visas a year to people from underrepresented countries, and restrictions on how many relatives USA citizens can sponsor for visas, which he called "chain migration". Instead, the guest list included lawmakers from both parties involved in the immigration debate, such as Republican Graham and Senator Dick Durbin of IL, a Democrat.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein expressed concerns that too many broader immigration issues would complicate the debate on DACA, and proposed that Congress pass a "clean DACA bill" immediately, but with an added commitment that lawmakers proceed afterward into a comprehensive immigration reform procedure.

"Yes, I believe Mexico will pay for the wall", Trump said. Republican lawmakers subsequently pointed out that a clean DACA bill would likely not include border security measures. They're people not legally in the United States who were younger than 31 in 2012, came to this country when they were younger than 16 and have lived in the United States since 2007. First, he wanted to see a border wall between the United States and Mexico, along with action for young people protected from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Trump, in the Tuesday meeting, emphasized the need for immigration reform to be bipartisan, noting that the plight of Dreamers is a dilemma that concerns both Democrats and Republicans. He was a co-sponsor of a bipartisan bill in June 2017 that would offer a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who were brought to the children. "Truly, it should be a bill of love and we can do that".


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