President Trump said Tuesday he would shut down the government if Congress doesn’t fix an immigration system that doesn’t allow the government to deport criminal gang members.
“If we don’t change it, let’s have a shutdown. It’s worth it for our country. I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this taken care of,” Trump said Tuesday as he met with law enforcement officials at the White House to discuss the threat of the MS-13 gang. If Democrats don’t want to close loopholes that allow gang members to illegally enter and remain in the country, he said, “Then shut it down.”
Trump is insisting that any immigration bill passed by Congress have four components: A permanent legal status for so-called Dreamers who entered the country illegally as children; $25 billion in border security, including a Mexican border wall; restrictions on family-based “chain migration”; and an end to the diversity visa lottery system that gives preferences to under-represented countries.
Trump Says He’d ‘Love to See a Shutdown’ If Dems Won’t Back Immigration Changes
President Trump told Republican lawmakers Tuesday that he would “love to see a shutdown” of the federal government if Democrats do not support his proposed changes to immigration law.
Trump made the comments as GOP leaders raced to muster support for yet another stopgap spending bill that would keep the government open through March 23. Under a previous agreement, funding is scheduled to run out at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday.
Drunk-Driving Crash Involving Undocumented Immigrant Stirs Political Battle Over Immigration Reform
Shortly after the arrest of the man accused of hitting and killing Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver Jeffrey Monroe, Indiana State Police released more information on the suspect including the fact that he has been deported twice. Some lawmakers took to social media afterwards to make the case for stricter immigration laws.
Congressman Todd Rokita tweeted, “This news should make all Americans angry. A twice-deported illegal immigrant is suspected of killing 2 Hoosiers, including Colts LB Edwin Jackson. We must do more to get these dangerous illegal immigrant criminals off our streets, build a wall & put an end to illegal immigration.”
Trump Calls On Democrats to “Get Tough” On Immigration After Colts Player’s Death
President Trump in a Tuesday tweet called on Democrats to get tough on illegal immigration “fast” after an Indianapolis Colts player was struck and killed by an undocumented immigrant who police say may have been driving drunk.
“So disgraceful that a person illegally in our country killed @Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!,” Trump wrote.
Jackson and another man were standing on the side of the road in Indianapolis early Sunday morning when they were mowed down by Ford F-150 pickup truck, Indiana State Police said. They identified the truck’s driver as Manuel Orrego-Savala, 37, a Guatemalan citizen who is in the United States illegally.
He was deported twice, in 2007 and 2009.US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said on Monday that Orrego-Savala had been convicted of driving drunk in California in 2005. He also has other “misdemeanor criminal convictions and arrests in California and Indiana,” ICE said in a statement issued Monday.
Democrats Opposing Immigration Plan Support “Open Borders”
President Trump on Tuesday accused Democrats who oppose his immigration proposal of advocating for “open borders” and failing to take seriously the effort to enshrine into law legal protections for “Dreamers,” immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
In a tweet, Trump cited a Harvard-Harris poll putting support for his immigration priorities at roughly 65% and reiterated his demand that any legislative deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would need to boost border security, end family-based immigration and do away with the diversity lottery program.
“Polling shows nearly 7 in 10 Americans support an immigration reform package that includes DACA, fully secures the border, ends chain migration & cancels the visa lottery,” he tweeted. “If D’s oppose this deal, they aren’t serious about DACA-they just want open borders.”
House Democrats to Leverage Budget Caps Support for Immigration Vote
For months House Democrats have withheld support for stopgap spending bills in search of a broader budget agreement on lifting the sequestration spending caps and providing a legislative replacement to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that is scheduled to end March 5. House Democrats even held firm against a Feb. 8 continuing resolution that reopened the government after a three-day shutdown last month.
As chances grow that a budget caps deal could get attached in the Senate to the latest stopgap funding measure to keep government operations running past Feb. 8, the leverage House Democrats have needed to secure an immigration commitment in their chamber may finally be here.
“The budget caps are our leverage,” House Minority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday. He said Democrats want Speaker Paul D. Ryan to commit to a floor debate on immigration like McConnell did.
Trump Disparages “Stupidity” of U. S. Immigration Laws at MS-13 Event
President Donald Trump freely disparaged U. S. immigration laws Tuesday at the White House, claiming that “not another country in the world has the stupidity of laws that we do when it comes to immigration.”
The comment, which came during an event aimed at combating the MS-13 gang, comes as Trump is trying to tie gang violence in the United States with the need to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and reform the immigration system.
“We need these immigration laws changed. We are just not going to be able to continue to do this. They just come in so far, so easy,” the President said. “And then you have catch and release. You catch people, you have to release them right away.” He added: “Not another country in the world has the stupidity of laws that we do when it comes to immigration. And if we don’t get them changed, this isn’t politics, this isn’t Republican and Democrat, this is common sense. So, it has to be taken care of.”
Graham: “Increasingly Pessimistic On Immigration”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the strongest advocates for a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy in the Senate, says he is “increasingly pessimistic” that Congress will pass a fix beyond a short-term “punt.”
Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, leaving a meeting of the Republican conference, that he now believes only a one- or two-year extension of the DACA program, which protects young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children, is likely.
“I’m becoming increasingly pessimistic about immigration,” Graham said. “I don’t think we’re going to do a whole lot beyond something like the BRIDGE Act, which would be extend DACA for a year or two, and some border security. It’s just too many moving parts.”