WH blasts bipartisan immigration plan ahead of key shutdown vote

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The White House on Sunday blasted a bipartisan immigration proposal ahead of a Senate vote to end the government shutdown.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley called the plan co-authored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) “a giant step in the wrong direction” that is too lax on illegal immigration. 
“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,” Gidley said in a statement to The Hill, also referring to another sponsor, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
The White House is trying to discourage Republican lawmakers from signing onto the plan after the government reopens.  
Senators are expected to vote Monday at noon to end debate on a bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8
If that bill becomes law, it’s expected to restart negotiations over the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children.  
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday he will bring up immigration legislation next month if the issue is not resolved before the next spending deadline. 
The Senate leader said the legislation would address DACA recipients, border security and related issues. 
The White House statement comes as no surprise, as President Trump rejected the plan in dramatic, profane fashion last week, helping lead to the government shutdown. 
But the pointed comments come as Graham has positioned himself as a central player in ending the shutdown and keeping his immigration plan alive. 
The bipartisan bill would offer a pathway to citizenship for people who qualify for DACA, in exchange for more than $2 billion in border security funding and tweaks to the nation’s visa system. 
The White House argues the measure is too generous, saying it could eventually allow as many as 8 million immigrants to legalize their status. Around 700,000 people benefit from the DACA program, but many more are eligible. The Graham-Durbin proposal would also allow parents of those immigrants to apply for a renewable legal status — but not a path to citizenship.
“Their plan totally fails to secure the border, and includes no legal authorities to stop illegal immigration which ensures a massive wave of new illegal immigration and new chain migration,” Gidley added. 
Democrats, some Republicans, and immigrant rights activists dispute the White House’s numbers. 
Graham said earlier Sunday that the White House staff, led by immigration hard-liner Stephen Miller, is undercutting Trump’s ability to reach a deal.  
“Every time we have a proposal it is only yanked back by staff members. As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration, we’re going nowhere,” Graham told reporters at the Capitol. 
Gidley fired back, saying in an earlier statement that Graham has “been an outlier for years” on immigration.  
Tags Dick Durbin Donald Trump Jeff Flake Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell

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