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White House: Graham-Durbin immigration bill 'dead on arrival'

The White House on Tuesday hardened its position against a bipartisan proposal in the Senate that would shield young immigrants living in the U.S. from deportation.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gave her strongest indication yet that President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE would not sign the measure, written by Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCongress punts fight over Dreamers to March Pence tours Rio Grande between US and Mexico GOP looks for Plan B after failure of immigration measures MORE (R-S.C.) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinAmerica’s waning commitment to the promise of the First Amendment Senate rejects Trump immigration plan What to watch for in the Senate immigration votes MORE (D-Ill.), if it reaches his desk. 

“It’s totally unacceptable to the president and should be declared dead on arrival,” she told reporters. 

President Trump previously dismissed the proposal in profane fashion when it was first presented to him in the Oval Office, remarks that helped lead to a government shutdown.

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The White House has reiterated its opposition to the measure, and officials say they are escalating criticism to kill it as immigration talks resume. 

On Sunday, during the government shutdown, a White House spokesman called the plan "a giant step in the wrong direction" in a statement to The Hill.

“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,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement to The Hill, also referring to another sponsor, Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March Outgoing GOP rep: Republican Party 'heading into trouble' in election MORE (R-Ariz.)

Sanders said it did not meet the White House's demands that an immigration bill strengthen border security, dramatically reduce family reunification in immigration and end the visa lottery. 

 

Lawmakers are trying to work out an agreement before a Feb. 8 spending deadline. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.) has pledged to hold an open debate on immigration if a deal is not reached before that deadline.