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Trump takes hard line on immigration, rejects 'horrible' bipartisan plan

  • Published at 02:36 pm January 18th, 2018
Trump takes hard line on immigration, rejects 'horrible' bipartisan plan

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday aligned himself solidly with conservative Republicans on immigration, criticizing a proposed bipartisan deal as "horrible" on US border security and "very, very weak" on reforms for the legal immigration system.

The Senate proposal - aimed at addressing Democrats' demands for protections for young adults brought to the United States illegally as children and dubbed "Dreamers" - fell far short of what most Republicans believe needs to happen, the president said.

"It's the opposite of what I campaigned for," Trump told Reuters in an interview.

The plan was presented to Trump last week by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin.

Trump drew international condemnation after reports emerged that he had questioned the value of taking immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean nation of Haiti during a closed-door meeting with lawmakers at the White House last Thursday, referring to them as "shithole" countries.

Trump has denied using that word. Trump in the interview on Wednesday declined to say what specific words he used.

"I'm not going to get into what I said, but I will tell you, it was a tough meeting," Trump said.

Many Democrats have said they will not vote for spending legislation to keep the federal government funded past a Friday deadline without an immigration deal, and Republicans will need at least some Democratic votes to pass the funding extension in the Senate.

Trump said he thinks a deal on immigration is still possible. "Time is running out," he said.

Democrats said the negotiated plan addressed Trump priorities, including $2.7 billion for additional border security funding.

"The president can’t seem to take yes for an answer and is heading towards a shut down, which would fall squarely on his back," Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

Trump said a federal government shutdown "could happen" at the end of the week, insisting Democrats would be blamed if that occurs even though Republicans control both chambers of Congress and the White House.

The White House has said it backs a short-term spending measure by a Friday deadline to prevent a shutdown.

 
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