Trump Threatens to Veto Immigration Bills that Don’t Meet His Demands
Senators in both parties are racing against a self-imposed, end-of-the-week deadline to write legislation that could win broad support by increasing border security while at the same time offering a path to citizenship for immigrants brought to the United States as children.
But in a morning statement, Mr. Trump urged senators to oppose any bill that did not also embrace the “four pillars” of his immigration approach, which includes a rewrite of the nation’s immigration laws that would close the country’s borders to many immigrants trying to come to the United States legally.
“I am asking all senators, in both parties, to support the Grassley bill and to oppose any legislation that fails to fulfill these four pillars,” Mr. Trump said in the statement.
Trump said in the statement that lawmakers should support immigration legislation drafted by Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, to codify his own plan. The bill would provide a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants, end the visa lottery program, build a border wall and end what he calls “chain migration,” which is family-based immigration.
“The overwhelming majority of American voters support a plan that fulfills the Framework’s four pillars, which move us towards the safe, modern, and lawful immigration system our people deserve,” Mr. Trump said.
He added that he would oppose a smaller, “Band-aid” approach to immigration that some lawmakers have been discussing, which would protect Dreamers for a few years in exchange for a small increase in border security spending — essentially kicking the issue down the road.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, responded harshly to the president’s entreaty.
“The American people know what’s going on,” Mr. Schumer said on the Senate floor. “They know this president not only created the problem, but seems to be against every solution that might pass because it isn’t 100 percent of what he wants. If, at the end of the week, we are unable to find a bill that can pass — and I sincerely hope that’s not the case due to the good efforts of so many people on both sides of the aisle — the responsibility will fall entirely on the president’s shoulders and those in this body who went along with him.”
The top Republicans in both the House and Senate praised the president’s statement, describing it as a boost for the approach that many of their more conservative members support.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said there is “growing consensus” around a two-pronged approach, in which protections would be extended for roughly 1.8 million undocumented immigrants brought as children, in exchange for the full $25 billion for the president’s proposed border wall. He said addressing other proposals has become “politically toxic,” ever since a White House immigration meeting where Mr. Trump referred to African nations as “shithole countries.”
The Grassley bill includes several measures to increase border security, including increasing the use of radar and tower-based surveillance, sensors and drones mostly along the Southwest border and increasing the number of border patrol agents. The National Guard would also be used to help constructs border fencing and operate some of the surveillance equipment.