Feb 15, 2018 - Politics & Policy

WH to senators: Drop support for bipartisan immigration bill

Half of Donald Trump's face

Photo: Win McNamee / Getty

The White House is actively trying to stamp out any momentum behind the bipartisan Rounds-King immigration bill. Shortly after President Trump's veto threat, a White House official told reporters on a call Thursday afternoon that senators had been asked to remove their sponsorship from the bill, saying it's possible that they were "simply grievously misinformed about the bill’s outrageous contents."

Why it matters: Even if the Senate manages to get 60 votes on this bill, the White House is making it extra clear that Trump will not sign it into law. Trump tweeted this afternoon that the bill would be a "total catastrophe."

  • Where it stands: Trump has only expressed support for the Grassley bill in the Senate and the Goodlatte bill in the House. "If Dems are actually serious about DACA, they should support the Grassley bill," he said in his tweet.
  • What it does: The bipartisan bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for the "Dreamers," adults who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, gives $25 billion toward border security and prohibits Dreamers from sponsoring their parents for citizenship.
  • The problem: The official claimed that the bill would significantly increase the legalized immigrant population, wouldn't fund the additional immigration officers that the Department of Homeland Security has requested, and "handcuffs" border agents and ICE officers. "We can't tell ICE officers to stand down until someone gets hurt," the official said.
  • Out for blood: The White House official specifically berated GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham for his response to the Department of Homeland Security's letter condemning the bipartisan bill, calling him "an obstacle to getting immigration done" and "an obstacle to Dreamers." Referring to both the Graham-Durbin and the Rounds-King bills, the official said, "Graham’s presence on those bills is the problem."
  • The other side: Earlier today in a press conference, Graham blamed the White House's veto threat on senior adviser Stephen Miller's influence: "Stephen Miller’s never going to run this show here and get you a successful outcome.”
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