Amid confusion in Washington over what kind of immigration bill President Donald Trump would sign, White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday that the President has made his priorities clear.
“The President has been pretty clear about what it will take to get us to the next phase,” he said, speaking on “Cuomo Prime Time.”
Shah said that the President has four priorities coming out of last week’s bipartisan meeting on immigration at the White House: a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, increased security at the southern border with a wall, ending “chain migration” and ending the visa lottery system.
“We want to give Congress some flexibility on those four issues, but we want a bill that seriously ends the visa lottery, seriously reforms chain migration, secures the southern border, with a DACA fix,” Shah said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that despite months of intense debate over immigration legislation, the President still has not made clear what he wants in a final bill, one that he would sign into law.
“I’m looking for something that President Trump supports. And he’s not yet indicated what measure he’s willing to sign,” McConnell said at a Capitol Hill news conference. “As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I would be convinced that we were not just spinning our wheels going to this issue on the floor, but actually dealing with a bill that has a chance to become law and therefore solve the problem.”
When pressed by Cuomo about the bipartisan deal presented to the President by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democrat Senator Dick Durbin Tuesday – which addressed these issues – Shah called it “simply inadequate” and “not a serious proposal.” He said that the bill only addressed DACA, providing “inadequate border security” and failing to end “chain migration.”
Shah said that a key shortcoming for the President is the $1.6 billion funding for the border wall included in the senators’ proposal, as compared to the $18 billion dollars The Department of Homeland Security estimates would be needed to fund it.
“This is an immigration bill that he can’t sign,” Shah said.