President Donald Trump on Tuesday pushed Congress toward passing immigration reform that includes a legislative replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program before its imminent deadline.
"Negotiations on DACA have begun. Republicans want to make a deal and Democrats say they want to make a deal," Trump tweeted in reference to the Obama-era program implemented via executive order in 2012 after lawmakers failed to pass a legislative solution at the time.
"Wouldn't it be great if we could finally, after so many years, solve the DACA puzzle. This will be our last chance, there will never be another opportunity! March 5th," Trump added, referring to the March 5 deadline that he set to find a solution to DACA after rescinding the program in September.
Negotiations on DACA have begun. Republicans want to make a deal and Democrats say they want to make a deal. Wouldn’t it be great if we could finally, after so many years, solve the DACA puzzle. This will be our last chance, there will never be another opportunity! March 5th.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2018
DACA provides legal protections to so-called Dreamers, immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
The Senate kicked off its latest round of talks Monday to come to a solution for Dreamers.
In January, a federal judge from California temporary put the Trump administration's attempt to repeal the Obama-era executive order on hold. Judge William Alsup ruled the roughly 700,000 Dreamers will be able to renew applications past the March deadline.
Under the ruling, the administration does not need to process new applicants for DACA.
The Trump administration, however, will continue to push for a legislative solution over the executive order, which it argues is unlawful, CNN reported.
In response to the ruling, the Department of Justice questioned the legality of DACA, calling it "an unlawful circumvention of Congress." DOJ spokesman Devin O'Malley said that DHS "acted within its lawful authority in deciding to wind down DACA in an orderly manner" and implied that the legal battles aren't over yet.
"The Justice Department will continue to vigorously defend this position, and looks forward to vindicating its position in further litigation," O'Malley said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said last week at a news conference that the goal is to vote on a range of immigration reform proposals.
"Whoever gets to 60 wins," McConnell said. "There's no secret plan here to try to push this in any direction. The Senate is going to work its will, and I hope that we will end up passing something."