White House aide shoots down smaller immigration deal

White House aide shoots down smaller immigration deal
© Getty Images

A top White House aide said Monday that the administration isn't open to narrowing down an immigration deal — an idea being floated by a key group of bipartisan senators. 

"No, we really think we've narrowed it down, we really do," White House legislative director Marc Short said, after being asked if the White House is open to a smaller agreement that would pair enhanced border security measures with a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) fix. 

Short added that the White House felt it had offered a "pretty strong compromise" with its immigration framework released late last week. 

The White House released the outline of its proposal on Thursday. It included a pathway to citizenship for roughly 1.8 million immigrants brought into the country illegally as children. That's in exchange for tens of billions of dollars for the wall on the Mexican border and other provisions aimed at limiting legal immigration. 

Short added the without changes to immigration laws, Congress would be creating a "magnet that just creates more pressure" on border security officials. 

Trump and a bipartisan group of lawmakers agreed during a televised meeting earlier this month to limit any immigration deal to four pillars: a DACA fix, border security, changes to family-based immigration and the elimination of the State Department's diversity visa lottery.

But a growing number of senators are pitching an agreement that would include a fix for DACA recipients with border security. That idea, discussed during a closed-door meeting late last week, would not include a path to citizenship or changes to which family members citizens and legal residents can sponsor. 

Asked on Monday if changes to "chain migration" and the visa lottery needed to be included in any agreement, Short said: "Absolutely."

Short's comments come after he, White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenKamala Harris: Trump should send officials to testify on immigration policy separating migrant families Pentagon approves hundreds more National Guard troops to support border agents Homeland Security proposes halting 'startup visas' for foreign entrepreneurs MORE met with Sens. John CornynJohn CornynRepublican leader: ‘For all practical purposes’ there’s no difference between an FBI informant and a spy Schumer: Congress must stop reported ZTE deal 'in its tracks' Hillicon Valley: Experts worry North Korea will retaliate with hacks over summit | FBI works to disrupt Russian botnet | Trump officials look to quell anger over ZTE | Obama makes case for tighter regs on tech MORE (R-Texas) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinTrump has exposed Democratic hypocrisy on prison reform House easily passes prison reform bill backed by Trump This week: House GOP regroups after farm bill failure MORE (D-Ill.) and Reps. Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyIvanka Trump to campaign for Devin Nunes in California Republicans are strongly positioned to win Congress in November Election fears recede for House Republicans MORE (R-Calif.) and Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThree House Dems say they'll oppose immigration floor vote over possible wall funding House approves 'right to try,' sends bill to Trump's desk Hillicon Valley: Mnuchin urges antitrust review of tech | Progressives want to break up Facebook | Classified election security briefing set for Tuesday | Tech CEOs face pressure to appear before Congress MORE (D-Md.).

McCarthy, after the meeting, said there was no discussion of doing a temporary one year DACA fix.

Cornyn added that he expected a final agreement to include all of the four pillars. 

"The president said there are four pillars, and I think we're going to have to come up with a solution that addresses all four," he said.

The Trump administration announced last year that it was ending DACA. Congress has until March 5 to reach a deal.