Pence says Trump's latest immigration offer "is an effort to compromise" with Democrats
Vice President Michael Pence said the immigration offer put forward by President Trump on Saturday is an "effort to compromise" with Democrats in Congress and find a solution for ending the longest shutdown in history.
"What the president articulated yesterday was a good faith, common-sense compromise, where the president laid out his priorities: building a physical barrier on the southern border, a steel barrier. New resources for Border Patrol, humanitarian assistance, technology," Pence said on "Face the Nation" Sunday. "But the president also announced that he'd be willing to support legislation that provides temporary relief, three year of temporary legal status for those in the DACA program and also those who have Temporary Protected Status."
"It really is an effort to compromise," he added. Pence said he expects Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold a vote on the president's proposal on Tuesday.
On Saturday, Mr. Trump announced what he billed as a "compromise" on immigration to reopen the government, which has been partially closed for 30 days. The proposed deal entails the White House supporting legislation to grant Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders temporary immigration protections if Congress approves $5.7 billion in funding to construct a barrier along the southern border and bolster security.
The offer received widespread criticism on Capitol Hill even before Mr. Trump announced it. Democrats denounced it as a cynical attempt by the president to use DACA recipients as bargaining chips to fund his border wall. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the president's proposal was "unacceptable," particularly because it did not place the hundreds of thousands of so-called "Dreamers" on a pathway to citizenship.
Immigration hawks, meanwhile, branded the White House's proposal "amnesty" and said it would not fully secure the U.S.-Mexico border.
"Trump proposed amnesty. We voted for Trump and got Jeb!" conservative commentator Ann Coulter wrote on Twitter Saturday, referring to 2016 GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush, a strong supper of comprehensive immigration reform.
On Sunday, however, Pence strongly defended the proposal he crafted alongside White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and McConnell. The vice president said it was an "act of statesmanship" on the president's part.
"We're absolutely determined to secure the border, to open the government," he said.
The vice president signaled that Mr. Trump may be open to backing more sweeping immigration reform once the impasse in budget negotiations ends, saying the president is "absolutely determined to fixing our broken immigration system."
On Sunday morning, Mr. Trump tweeted that "amnesty" could be part of future legislation to overhaul the nation's immigration system.
"No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer. 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!" the president wrote.
The Trump administration tried to dismantle DACA, an Obama-era program that shields approximately 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation, in the fall of 2017, but a prolonged court battle has kept the initiative alive. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also announced the eventual termination of TPS protections for more than 250,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, Sudan and Haiti, but a federal judge blocked the decision in early October.
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