White House says Trump will veto bipartisan immigration deal

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(CNN) — The White House said Thursday President Donald Trump would veto a bipartisan Senate deal on immigration that would create a pathway to citizenship for nearly two million undocumented immigrants and allot $25 billion (around ₱1.3 trillion) for border security.

"This amendment would drastically change our national immigration policy for the worse by weakening border security and undercutting existing immigration law," the White House said in a statement.

"The administration is committed to finding a permanent, fair, and legal solution for DACA," the White House said. "But this amendment would only compound the problem by encouraging millions of additional minors to be smuggled into the United States. We need to solve the problem, not perpetuate it indefinitely."

The deal could be the best chance for the Senate to act on immigration reform this week, but the White House has been going all-out to block it Thursday ahead of a possible vote.

With 60 votes needed to advance the plan in the Senate, the bill already faces long odds.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions derided the legislation in remarks to a national sheriff's association.

"This is open borders and mass amnesty and the opposite of what the American people support," Sessions claimed about the bill, according to prepared remarks. "This amendment — plain as day — will invite a mad rush of illegality across our borders."

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is also making calls to lawmakers to urge them to reject the bill, or potentially even revoke their sponsorship of it, according to an administration official.

The legislation from a group of 16 bipartisan senators would offer nearly two million young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children before 2012 a path to citizenship over 10 to 12 years.

The plan would also place $25 billion in a guarded trust for border security, would cut a small number of green cards each year for adult children of current green card holders, and would prevent parents from being sponsored for citizenship by their U.S. citizen children if that child gained citizenship through the pathway created in the bill or if they brought the child to the U.S. illegally.

The administration statements riled up co-sponsors of the bill, who said the White House and allies have "lost credibility" by criticizing a bipartisan agreement.

"With their press release this morning, it seems as if DHS is intent on acting less like a partner and more like an adversary," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said of a lengthy Homeland Security press release.

"Instead of offering thoughts and advice — or even constructive criticism — they are acting more like a political organization intent on poisoning the well," he added. "From the tone of this morning's document, it appears as if DHS hopes all border security proposals fail. That would be the worst outcome of all."

One provision the White House and the Department of Homeland Security particularly objected to would direct it to focus its arrests and deportations on criminals and newly arrived immigrants.

The Trump administration has virtually removed all prioritization of arresting and deporting immigrants. It has targeted individuals with final deportation orders, some years and decades old, drawing criticism for deporting longtime members of communities with US citizen families.

"The Schumer-Rounds-Collins proposal destroys the ability of the men and women from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to remove millions of illegal aliens," DHS said in a statement. "It would be the end of immigration enforcement in America and only serve to draw millions more illegal aliens with no way to remove them.

"The changes proposed by Senators Schumer-Rounds-Collins would effectively make the United States a Sanctuary Nation where ignoring the rule of law is encouraged," the agency added.

President Donald Trump has backed a plan to give 1.8 million undocumented people who came to the U.S. as children citizenship with $25 billion in border security, host of hardline enforcement power requests, substantially cutting family-based migration and ending the diversity visa lottery.

DHS called the bipartisan proposal an "egregious violation" of what the President has wanted.

The White House proposal has been introduced by Republican senators and is expected to be well below the 60 votes needed to advance.

Both proposals are expected to get a vote in the Senate on Thursday.

This story was first published on cnn.com, "White House says Trump will veto bipartisan immigration deal."