WASHINGTON — President Trump announced his support on Wednesday for
the immigration legislation drafted by Senator Charles E. Grassley to
codify his own plan, and said that he would oppose bills that “fail
to deliver for the American people.”
While the president’s support of the Iowa Republican’s bill
is not surprising, his vague promise not to support other bills is notable,
as Mr. Trump told lawmakers last month that he would sign any immigration
bill that Congress sends him. Republican leaders have said Congress should
only pass legislation that Mr. Trump would sign, but how flexible the
president would be was a key question for lawmakers.
The White House position was announced as the Senate holds a rare open
debate on immigration, which allows senators to build legislation from
a blank slate on the Senate floor.
Other proposals with bipartisan support on Capitol Hill take a narrower
approach than Mr. Grassley, extending protections for young immigrants
brought to the country illegally as children and bolstering border security.
But those bills do not include the tough changes to immigration law that
Mr. Trump backs — and most Democrats strongly oppose.
Mr. Grassley is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In his statement on Tuesday, Mr. Trump said he would not support any proposal
that does not include the four pillars of his own plan — a path
to citizenship for young, undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers, ending
the visa lottery program, building a border wall and ending what he calls
“chain migration,” which is family-based immigration.
“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,”
Mr. Trump said in the statement.
The statement is likely to make deliberations on Capitol Hill far harder.
The president ended an Obama-era program protecting young, undocumented
immigrants, known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,
but gave Congress six months to find a legislative alternative. That deadline
is now three weeks away.
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