Trump defends immigration proposal against 'amnesty' criticism from conservatives

President TrumpDonald John TrumpImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Feds say marijuana ties could prevent immigrants from getting US citizenship Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll MORE early Sunday sought to sell his new immigration proposal, which includes funding for a wall along the southern border and extended protection for certain immigrant groups, amid pushback from Democrats and hard-line conservatives.

In a series of tweets, Trump chastised Democrats for dismissing his plan, and attempted to assuage immigration hard-liners who likened the administration's latest proposal to amnesty for immigrants already in the country illegally.

"No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer," Trump tweeted. "It is a 3 year extension of DACA. Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else. Likewise there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally-but be careful Nancy!"

ADVERTISEMENT

In two other tweets, Trump singled out Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform Hillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars MORE (D-Calif.) for her opposition to the proposal, calling her a "Radical Democrat" and blaming her for the condition of the streets in San Francisco, which falls in her congressional district.

Trump called on Pelosi and Democrats to "do the right thing for the Country & allow people to go back to work" as a partial government shutdown triggered by his demand for wall funding stretched into its 30th day. 

Pelosi called Trump's proposal a "non-starter" shortly before Trump unveiled the details amid media reports that it would include wall funding and protections for "Dreamers" and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients. The deal would also reopen swaths of the government that have been closed since late December.

In a tweet on Sunday, she called on Trump to reopen the government before any border talks.

Trump on Saturday proposed a deal that would include more than $5 billion in funding for a wall along the southern border, a three-year extension of protections for “Dreamers” who benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and TPS holders, and funding for additional immigration judges.

A number of Republicans were quick to praise the proposal, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFormer Bush assistant: Mueller report makes Obama look 'just plain bad' 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform Dem says marijuana banking bill will get House vote this spring MORE (R-Ky.) said he would bring it up for a vote this week.

Democratic leaders and rank-and-file members were just as quick to criticize Trump's plan, calling it a "non-starter," "more hostage taking" and "non-serious."

The president's announcement also drew backlash from conservatives like Ann Coulter, who compared his suggestion to amnesty, and immigration reduction group NumbersUSA.

Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence: Mueller report confirms 'no collusion, no obstruction' Melania Trump, Karen Pence say they're ready to serve four more years in White House The Turkish rupture could cause a fissure in NATO MORE during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday" also pushed back against conservatives who likened Trump's plan to amnesty.

"This is not amnesty," Pence said. "There’s no pathway to citizenship there’s no permanent status here at all, which is what amnesty contemplates.

"I think as the American people look at this, Chris, they’re going to see this for what it is," he added.

"President Trump said 'bring me the ideas from all sides, let's put them all on the table.' The president has made it clear what he would support. Now it’s time for the Senate and the House to start voting to secure our border and reopen the government."

Updated at 11:43 a.m.