The White House plans to lay out its “specific priorities and principles” for an immigration deal in seven to 10 days, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Friday.
There has been some confusion over the state of ongoing talks over immigration between President Donald Trump and leaders on Capitol Hill.
After dining with the president earlier this week, Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi said they had reached a deal to pass legislation granting Dreamers — immigrants whose parents brought them to the U.S. as children — alongside funding for border security, but not for a border wall. Trump first denied that he had reached a deal with them, but later acknowledged they had discussed such an arrangement.
Sanders said Friday that Trump is “focused on making sure that in the efforts of these ongoing conversations between both Democrats and Republicans that we deliver on responsible immigration reform” but that no final deal had been reached.
“He supports making an agreement on DACA but that would have to include massive border security and interior enforcements,” she told reporters at the afternoon briefing. “The president continues to push for those things. He still is 100 percent committed to the wall, and we’re going to be laying out what our specific priorities and principles are in that front over the next seven to 10 days, and we’ll make sure that you guys are all a part of that.”
Trump last week announced that he was ending the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that provides work permits to roughly 700,000 young immigrants. And while he gave Congress six months to come up with a legislative alternative to ending DACA, the White House has not been clear on what exactly they want the bill to look like.
Sanders on Friday suggested that the White House would not support a path to citizenship for the so-called Dreamers, contradicting some earlier statements.
“The whole definition says deferred,” Sanders said. “I think that takes away the idea of the permanent piece, when the idea of DACA, literally the definition of it, is deferred action, meaning it’s not a permanent process.”
But she did not rule out the citizenship piece definitively, while she listed some other possible priorities.
“Again, we want to have these conversations and lay out exactly what those principles look like over the next seven to 10 days,” Sanders said. “Right now, our goal, our focus is making sure that that program gets taken care of, with also coupling that with massive border security, interior enforcement. Some of the specific things that we would probably like to see, end to sanctuary cities, expedited removal, more immigration judges, supporting things like the RAISE Act.”
“Those are things that you’ll see us focus on and talk more about in the coming days,” she said.
The RAISE Act is a bill proposed by some Senate Republicans that would curtail legal immigration. Many members of both parties oppose it.