Trump backs Grassley immigration plan

President Trump on Wednesday threw his support behind Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) immigration bill and urged the Senate to pass it.

“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 — that includes opposing any short-term ‘Band-Aid’ approach,” Trump said in a statement.

The president was referring to the four pillars contained in the White House’s immigration framework: a “lasting solution” for young immigrants living illegally in the U.S., building a border wall, scrapping the diversity visa lottery and reforming family-based immigration.

{mosads}Trump’s statement also appeared to rule out any pared-down proposal that deals with the young immigrants, often called “Dreamers,” and border security, indicating he is unwilling to budge from his original demands.

White House officials later Wednesday said that other plans would cause a massive surge of both legal and illegal immigration to the U.S. 
One official took aim at a plan being drafted by a large group of bipartisan senators, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), that is expected to be released today. 
“If they don’t limit family sponsorships for U.S. citizens to spouses and minor children only, whatever number they give you, multiply it by three or four,” the official said, referring to family-based visas. “There are many examples of what something like Sen. Collins has in mind would be dramatically worse than current law and would result in completely untenable consequences for our immigration system.”
The White House also reiterated it opposes language backed by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) that would address the Dreamers but not changes to the legal immigration system. 
It released a statement saying the plan would “increase illegal immigration, surge chain migration, continue catch and release, and give a pathway to citizenship to convicted alien felons.”

Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Monday introduced legislation that largely mirrors the White House plan.

It would provide a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants brought to the country illegally as children in exchange for $25 billion to fund a southern border wall and other security measures, as well as new limits on family visas, which conservatives refer to as “chain migration.”

It would also phase out the diversity visa lottery, which allows people from countries with historically low immigration rates to the U.S. to seek visas.

The curbs on family-based immigration is a must-have for conservatives but is considered a non-starter for many Democrats, meaning the Grassley proposal has little chance of garnering the 60 votes necessary to pass the Senate.

Senators are debating a number of immigration proposals this week to address young immigrants who benefit from the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump rescinded in September with a six-month delay. That delay ends on March 5.

But it’s unclear any legislation can attract 60 votes.

Updated: 12:01 p.m. 

Tags Chris Coons Chuck Grassley DACA Donald Trump Donald Trump Immigration John McCain Susan Collins

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