President Trump on Saturday argued Democrats are “doing nothing” toward crafting federal legislation that would permanently protect nearly 800,000 young illegal immigrants, as the White House and congressional leader grapple over a solution ahead of a deadline next week.
The president and Congress are attempting to reach a deal as part of a federal spending bill that congressional leaders must pass by Friday to avoid a government shutdown.
Trump held a televised meeting earlier this week at the White House with congressional Democrats and Republicans on comprehensive immigration reform -- which would almost certainly include protection for young illegal immigrants, known as DREAMers, in exchange for Trump’s U.S.- Mexico border wall and the elimination of so-called “chain migration.”
A bipartisan group of senators later submitted a plan to the White House that seemed agreeable to Trump -- considering it reportedly included $1.6 billion for his border wall.
However, the White House by Thursday essentially rejected the deal, arguing it didn’t go far enough to curtail so-called “chain migration,” which allows green card holders and U.S. citizens to petition to bring family members into the United States.
“We want changes to chain migration, and not to a very small percentage of the population and how it affects chain migration,” said Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director. “We want chain migration fixed for the immigration system.”
Trump tweeted Saturday: “The Democrats are all talk and no action. They are doing nothing to fix DACA. Great opportunity missed. Too bad!”
He later tweeted: “I don’t believe the Democrats really want to see a deal on DACA. They are all talk and no action. This is the time but, day by day, they are blowing the one great opportunity they have. Too bad!”
The president last year ended temporary protection from deportation for the DREAMers, under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrvials, or DACA, program. That program officially ends in March, but Democrats and others had hoped to reach a deal under the upcoming spending bill.
On Thursday, Trump criticized the bipartisan deal in harsh terms.
"The Democrats seem intent on having people and drugs pour into our country from the Southern Border, risking thousands of lives in the process. It is my duty to protect the lives and safety of all Americans," he tweeted. "We must build a Great Wall ..."