The White House rejected Wednesday the idea of trading short-term protections for younger illegal immigrants for border wall funding in an upcoming spending bill.
One potential deal being discussed on Capitol Hill involved a three-year extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in exchange for three years of border wall funding. The negotiations were first reported Wednesday by the Washington Post, which cited four GOP officials briefed on the negotiations.
White House spokesman Raj Shah shot down that report, saying that President Donald Trump doesn’t want to see legal status for DACA recipients included in an omnibus spending bill.
“The White House opposes a so-called three for three deal,” Shah said, according to the Washington Examiner.
A short-term DACA deal would be a sharp turn for the White House, which has insisted that any immigration bill include not just funding for the border wall, but also limits on chain migration and the end of the green card lottery. Federal court decisions have forced the administration to reinstate DACA, leading to speculation the White House would seek a simpler deal that would ensure border wall construction could begin.
Conservative Republican senators defeated a bill in February that would have committed $25 billion to build the border wall in exchange for permanent amnesty for about 1.8 million younger illegal immigrants. Some have already dismissed the idea of a similar, short-term agreement.
“The three for three DACA deal being floated fails to provide long-term certainty for our national security or immigrant families. We need to pursue a permanent solution now,” Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma said in a statement. “We should discuss the President’s framework proposal and what needs to be done to make it passable.”
The conservative House Freedom Caucus has insisted that DACA be addressed in a separate bill. They are pushing legislation that would limit amnesty to only those illegal immigrants who have received DACA protections, while delivering on Trump’s immigration policy priorities.
Congress must pass an omnibus package by March 23 to avoid another government shutdown.
ALSO WATCH: Trump slams Dems on DACA
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