President Donald Trump on Wednesday rejected a bipartisan deal to fund the government and provide legal protections for young undocumented immigrants.
“It’s the opposite of what I campaigned for,” Trump told Reuters of the Senate proposal, which the news organization described as “aimed at addressing Democrats’ demands for protections” for young undocumented people brought to the United States as children.
Though Reuters didn’t specify which deal Trump was rejecting, Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) have spearheaded such a compromise, which would also fund the government before it shuts down on Friday. The deal has faced resistance from lawmakers unsure of what Trump will support and immigration hardliners who want more concessions from Democrats.
According to Reuters, Trump called the deal “horrible” on border security funding — though he has shifted the goalposts on how much funding for a border wall and other measures would be sufficient, according to Durbin.
Trump also said the deal was “very, very weak” when it came to the White House’s preferred changes to the legal immigration system.
These include everything from eliminating the diversity immigrant visa system, which encourages immigration to the United States by qualified individuals from countries with small numbers of immigrants to the United States, to ending what the Trump administration has called “chain migration,” or preferences for those with family ties in the United States.
In a bipartisan, bicameral, partially televised meeting on immigration last week, Trump told leaders in both parties that he would “take the heat” for legislation they agreed on.
“When this group comes back — hopefully with an agreement — this group and others from the Senate, from the House, comes back with an agreement, I’m signing it,” he told the lawmakers in the room, and the American public. “I mean, I will be signing it. I’m not going to say, ‘Oh, gee, I want this or I want that.’ I’ll be signing it, because I have a lot of confidence in the people in this room that they’re going to come up with something really good.”
“Time is running out,” Trump told Reuters Wednesday, referring to reaching what the news outlet called a “deal on immigration” by March 5.
This post has been updated.