Trump calls on Senate to support Grassley immigration legislation

President Trump is throwing his support behind Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and his immigration legislation, as the debate over immigration reform continues to play out on Capitol Hill. Mr. Trump released a statement, urging the Senate to support Grassley’s bill and oppose bills that “fail to deliver for the American people.”

The president released a statement on Wednesday morning:

I want to thank Chairman Grassley for introducing legislation based on the White House Immigration Reform and Border Security Framework. The Grassley bill accomplishes the four pillars of the White House Framework: a lasting solution on DACA, ending chain migration, cancelling the visa lottery, and securing the border through building the wall and closing legal loopholes.  I am asking all senators, in both parties, to support the Grassley bill and to oppose any legislation that fails to fulfill these four pillars – that includes opposing any short-term “Band-Aid” approach.  The overwhelming majority of American voters support a plan that fulfills the Framework’s four pillars, which move us towards the safe, modern, and lawful immigration system our people deserve.

Grassley had previously introduced “The Secure and Succeed Act” with Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton. The bill would provide a path to citizenship for 1.8 million DACA recipients, $25 billion in border security and wall funding, limits on family-based migration, and would eliminate the diversity visa lottery. It’s unclear if the president has since suggested changes to the original version of Grassley’s legislation. There are currently no Democrats who have said they support this measure. Republicans would need nine Democrats, if all Senate Republicans support Grassley’s bill. 

The bill’s backers say it’s the only legislation on the table that has a chance of becoming law and is a workable compromise because it protects nearly two million immigrants while also giving immigration hawks the security funding they want. 

Mr. Trump indicated in his statement on Wednesday that he also remains “encouraged” by developments in the House, pointing to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul’s legislation that the president says “also enshrines our four pillars.”

Goodlatte unveiled his immigration bill last month. It takes a tougher stance on illegal immigration enforcement and addresses the future of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, allowing beneficiaries to be eligible for 3-year renewable permits to stay in the U.S.

Of the 70 security points included in the Trump administration’s immigration wish list sent to Congress in October, half — 35 — are not included in Goodlatte’s bill. But the bill does contain much of what the president has said he wants to see in an immigration bill: a plan to fund the border wall and to end the chain migration system as well as the visa lottery program.

Goodlatte’s bill also includes a long-term plan for DACA recipients that outlines a potential path to citizenship while not necessarily favoring DACA recipients over other immigrants seeking citizenship. 

Mr. Trump hailed that bill as “a good starting point” for his administration to accomplish its immigration goals.

The president suggested that with the budget deal behind him, his focus is on “enacting responsible and commonsense immigration reform that delivers for the American People.”

CBS News’ Emily Tillett and Blair Guild contributed to this report. 

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