White House aide shoots down smaller immigration deal

White House aide shoots down smaller immigration deal
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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 NielsenFEMA administrator nearly quit amid feud with DHS chief: report DOJ looking into 'concerning' behavior by employee in Project Veritas video New Defense cyber strategy gives military power on preventative cyberattacks MORE met with Sens. John CornynJohn CornynKey GOP senators appear cool to Kavanaugh accuser's demand Trump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle GOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford MORE (R-Texas) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGrassley to administration: You must consult Congress on refugee cap Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan group wants to lift Medicaid restriction on substance abuse treatment MORE (D-Ill.) and Reps. Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOn The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Midterms to shake up top posts on House finance panel The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE (R-Calif.) and Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDems' confidence swells with midterms fast approaching Trump's Puerto Rico tweets spark backlash Hoyer lays out government reform blueprint 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.