Cornyn Says Democrats Hold Spending Bill Hostage on Immigration

Pauline Gross
January 10, 2018

"President Donald J. Trump just concluded a successful bipartisan and bicameral meeting on immigration reform", press secretary Sarah Sanders said in the statement.

His comments came during a rare, lengthy public meeting with bipartisan members of Congress.

"One of the risks we run into is we sort of start spiraling out of control back into comprehensive immigration reform, and then nothing gets done", said Cornyn.

The White House said after the meeting that lawmakers had agreed to narrow the scope of the negotiations to four areas: border security, family-based "chain migration", the visa lottery and the DACA policy.

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In the highly unusual, 45-plus-minute negotiations that aired on news networks afterward, a bipartisan group of lawmakers debated whether to enact a two-phased approach to immigration reform, in which the first component resolved the soon-to-be terminated Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the second tackles broader reforms to the USA immigration system. "You are not that far away from comprehensive immigration reform".

"You folks are going to have to come up with a solution", the President said at one point.

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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". "I'll take all the heat you want to give me, and I'll take the heat off both the Democrats and the Republicans".

House Republicans said they planned to soon introduce legislation to address border security and the young immigrants. We will see how that goes. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called a "clean" bill - that is an extension of DACA alone. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., interjected, saying, "Mr. President, you need to be clear though", that legislation involving the so-called Dreamers would need to include border security. "I think he thinks they're interchangeable".

Republicans and Democrats agree that increased border security - and something the president can say fills his wall requirement - is likely to be a part of any agreement to stop the deportation of more than 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program.

That's an argument GOP lawmakers who want a deal are making to Trump to convince him he has maximum leverage now that will wane.

"I feel having the Democrats in with this is absolutely vital, because this should be a bipartisan bill". "Truly, it should be a bill of love and we can do that". Truly, it should be a bill of love.

"From that standpoint it was a very productive meeting", said U.S. Senator David Perdue, a Republican.

Before Christmas, Cornyn asked the White House for a list of the border security requirements it wants in exchange for a DACA solution. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) on whether a border wall was a precondition for any DACA fix. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX), said they would release a bill on Wednesday that links to DACA to changes in immigration security and new resources for a border wall; it's not clear what those details will be, as the President basically said he would sign whatever compromise the Congress could approve.

Other reports by GizPress

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