WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump signaled his opposition to a new bipartisan immigration plan unveiled in the Senate on Monday, calling any immigration deal that does not include a border wall “a total waste of time.”
“Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time,” Trump tweeted. “March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!”
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) announced Monday morning they planned to introduce a bill that would provide permanent legal status to thousands of Dreamers, young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, while providing funding for modern border security enforcement measures such as the use of surveillance drones.
The proposal comes as Congress looks to stave off another government shutdown by authorizing a new spending bill before a looming Thursday deadline. Earlier this month, Senate Democrats forced a three-day shutdown over an impasse on a soon-to-expire immigration program shielding thousands of young immigrants from deportation.
Democrats and moderate Republicans are looking to secure an immigration deal that would preserve the legal status afforded to about 800,000 young immigrants enrolled in the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that is set to expire on March 5.
Trump has introduced a plan that would provide a path to citizenship to 1.8 million young immigrants — a bigger pool than currently enrolled in the program — but Democrats have balked at the president’s demand that the plan include some $30 billion to fund a southern border wall. The president’s plan also calls for an end to the diversity-based visa lottery program and family reunification visas.
The McCain-Coons bill, the companion measure to a bipartisan House bill sponsored by Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), does not end the visa programs as requested by Trump. The House measure, known as the “Uniting and Securing America Act,” has an even split of 27 Republicans and 27 Democrats co-sponsoring the bill.
“Our legislation, which already has broad support in the House of Representatives, would address the most urgent priorities of protecting Dreamers, strengthening border security, alleviating the backlog in immigration courts, and addressing the root causes of illegal immigration,” McCain said in a statement.
Coons tweeted Monday: “This bill doesn’t fix every issue w our immigration system, but it does solve the two most pressing immigration issues, & it allows Congress to keep moving forward & address the list of issues that still need to be solved, like reaching a budget agreement to fund the military.”