The White House “hope[s]” that a DACA deal will include building a southern border wall, interior enforcement, eliminating the visa lottery, and ending chain migration.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked during Wednesday’s press conference if OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and Legislative Director Marc Short would bring up immigration during that day’s meetings on Capitol Hill. Sanders said it was possible but that the focus was on the budget and passing a “clean budget bill.”
She went on to comment on the potential of a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) deal, expressing no unequivocal promise on what would be included, but “hope” of what the Trump administration would “like to see” included in the deal:
… Our priorities on what we would hope to have in any immigration bill and in any DACA deal haven’t changed. They would include securing the border with a wall, ensuring interior enforcement, eliminating the visa lottery program, and ending chain migration. All those things are still the same.
Later in the press conference, another reporter asked about three former DHS secretaries who issued a joint letter the same day, in which they asked Congress to give illegal alien DACA “DREAMers” legal status and work authorization by mid-January. The three claimed this was the actual timeline based on implementation. Two of the former secretaries served under then-President Barack Obama and one served under then-President George W. Bush. The reporter asked Sanders if the White House agrees with that timeline.
“We’d like to get something done,” replied Sanders, who added, “we want to make sure that we have complete and responsible immigration reform and we’re not just dealing with one piece of it.”
The press secretary stated that they have laid out their priorities for a potential deal and “what it would take” to make a deal.
Pressed on whether the deal needed to happen in January, Sanders replied:
I don’t know that it necessarily has to be done this month. Look, we’d like to make a deal on securing funding for the border wall as well as ending chain migration, ending the visa lottery program, interior enforcement. We’d like to do that right away. So if the Democrats are willing to sit down and make that deal, I think we’d be happy to get that done by the end of the month.
President Donald Trump is set to discuss immigration with Republican members of the Senate during a late Thursday morning meeting at the White House. The meeting has been marked closed to the press. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford confirmed to McClatchy that they would attend the meeting, and an aide for North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis confirmed he will attend as well.
Trump is also scheduled for an afternoon meeting with Republican Senators to discuss 2018 legislative priorities and a meeting shortly thereafter with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. These meetings have also been marked closed to the press.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.