WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed a Republican plan to revamp the nation’s immigration system that would legalize 1.8 million undocumented young immigrants while spending billions on U.S.-Mexico border security and significantly change decades of current policy.
In a White House statement, Trump urged the Senate to back the proposal, saying it accomplishes his vision for immigration. At the same time, the president rejected any limited approach that deals only with so-called “dreamers” and border security.
Trump’s full-throated endorsement of the Republican plan sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, comes as a group of bipartisan senators worked on a possible solution to the intractable issue that could earn enough support in the closely divided Senate.
“The Grassley bill accomplishes the four pillars of the White House Framework: a lasting solution on DACA, ending chain migration, canceling the visa lottery, and securing the border through building the wall and closing legal loopholes,” Trump said in a statement. “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.”
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also has backed the GOP plan, and most Republicans on Tuesday appeared to be rallying behind the proposal by Grassley and six other GOP senators.
It fulfills Trump’s calls to legalize 1.8 million dreamers, immediately authorizes spending at least $25 billion to bolster defenses along the U.S.-Mexico border, makes changes to family-based legal immigration programs and ends a diversity lottery system used by immigrants from smaller countries.
Democrats strongly oppose the plan.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said the Grassley plan unfairly targets family-based immigration and that making such broad changes as part of a plan to legalize just a few million people “makes no sense.”
Meanwhile, Trump said he is “encouraged” by ongoing attempts to build support for a more conservative immigration reform plan introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. House GOP leaders planned to spend Wednesday whipping potential support for the bill, which is opposed by Democrats and several Republicans because of its aggressive border security policy and changes to family-based immigration.