White House indicates disapproval of bipartisan immigration bill
A bipartisan immigration bill included in the legislation to fund the government through February 8 was attacked by White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, dashing hopes that the government shutdown could end today.
Gidley said the deal is "a giant step in the wrong direction" and that it doesn't adequately address the issue of illegal immigration.
"The Flake-Graham-Durbin proposal embodies every reason Americans do not trust Washington. It puts people who are in this country unlawfully ahead of our own American citizens," Gidley said in a statement to The Hill, also referring to another sponsor, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
The White House is trying to discourage Republican lawmakers from signing on[ ]to the plan after the government reopens.
Senators are expected to vote Monday at noon to end debate on a bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8.
If that bill becomes law, it's expected to restart negotiations over expiring protections for hundreds of thousands of young [aliens] living illegally in the U.S.
Senate [m]ajority [l]eader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday he will bring up immigration legislation next month if the issue is not resolved before the next spending deadline.
The Senate leader said the legislation would address young [illegal aliens], border security[,] and related issues.
With McConnell willing to bring the issue up next month for a vote, why bother attaching it to the funding bill and giving the Democrats an easy win?
The bipartisan bill would offer a pathway to citizenship for people who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era initiative for young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, in exchange for more than $2 billion in border security funding and tweaks to the nation's visa system.
The White House argues that the measure is too generous, saying it could eventually allow as many as 8 million [aliens] to legalize their status. Almost 700,000 people benefit from the DACA program, but many more are eligible. The Graham-Durbin proposal would also allow parents of young [aliens] to apply for a renewable legal status – but not a path to citizenship.
Democrats, some Republicans, and immigrant[ ]rights activists dispute the White House's numbers.
"Their plan totally fails to secure the border, and includes no legal authorities to stop illegal immigration[,] which ensures a massive wave of new illegal immigration and new chain migration," Gidley added.
Trump is right. Unless the bill specifically targets those already in the DACA program, it can be used to legalize millions more. As far as securing the border, the White House is also correct in that it could get a lot more from a freestanding immigration bill debated next month than from something thrown together at the last minute to get the government funded.
Democrats won't abandon their efforts to tie DACA to the funding bill today. But as long as the man in the White House remains firm, they are eventually going to have to give in. The same thing happened during the last shutdown in 2013, when Republicans held out for more than two weeks before finally abandoning their efforts to get Obama to sign a repeal of Obamacare.
Democrats will eventually learn that it's the president and not Congress who holds the whip in these standoffs.