WASHINGTON — The White House will release a "legislative framework" for immigration reform on Monday that is acceptable to both Democrats and Republicans, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.
The immigration issue is a source of bitter partisan tension in Washington, and was the primary cause of a three-day federal government shutdown that saw employees who were deemed non-essential furloughed without pay.
"After decades of inaction by Congress, it’s time we work together to solve this issue once and for all," Sanders said on Wednesday.
"The White House will release a legislative framework on Monday that represents a compromise that members of both parties can support," which is based on "dozens" of meetings with Republican and Democratic leadership and legislators, she said.
It "will fulfill the four agreed-upon pillars: securing the border and closing legal loop holes, ending extended family chain migration, cancelling the visa lottery, and providing a permanent solution on DACA."
The first three "pillars" are Republican priorities, while the last – the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme – is a cause championed by the Democrats.
DACA, which was instituted by President Donald Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama in 2012, protects from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants who arrived in the country illegally as children.
Border wall debate
Trump said in September he was scrapping DACA, throwing the future of those it covers, who are known as "Dreamers," into doubt, but delayed enforcement to
give Congress six months -- until March -- to craft a lasting solution.
Democrats unsuccessfully sought to tie a solution to the DACA issue to a stop-gap measure to fund the federal government, but Republicans rejected the effort, leading to a shutdown from Saturday to Monday after it ran out of funds.
Illustrating the sharp divide on immigration, Trump took aim at Chuck Schumer overnight after the Senate minority leader withdrew an offer to fund a controversial wall on the Mexican border.
Schumer met Trump last week ahead of the government shutdown, reportedly offering as much as $25 billion for the wall, which was among the most prominent planks of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, as part of a broader deal including government spending.
But when Trump rejected the deal, Schumer pulled the offer.
"Cryin’ Chuck Schumer fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA," Trump tweeted shortly before midnight Tuesday.
"We must have safety and security, together with a strong Military, for our great people!"
Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, but it has repeatedly said it will not do so, and the funding for the project has instead fallen to US taxpayers.
The immigration issue is currently in flux with barely two weeks before a February 8 deadline agreed by both parties to either strike a deal, or take the issue to the Senate floor for debate before the "Dreamers" face mass deportation in March. — AFP