White House: ‘Flake-Graham-Durbin’ Agreement on Immigration ‘Dead on Arrival’

January 23, 2018

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday the immigration reform bill presented by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), and Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) would be "dead on arrival."

Sanders said the bipartisan bill, which has also received support from Sen. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.), does not meet President Donald Trump’s benchmarks on border security or reforming the larger immigration system. The White House previously criticized the bill for providing little to improve border security and allowing chain migration and the visa lottery system to continue, and Sanders said she wanted to "leave no doubt" about Trump's expectations.

"In a bipartisan meeting at the White House two weeks ago, we outlined a path forward on four issues: serious border security, an end to chain migration, the cancellation to the outdated and unsafe visa lottery, and a permanent solution to DACA," Sanders said. "Unfortunately, the Flake-Graham-Durbin agreement does not meet these benchmarks."

She said the senators’ agreement would fail to secure the border while encouraging illegal immigration and retaining chain migration and the visa lottery system.

"In short, it's totally unacceptable to the president and should be declared dead on arrival," she said.

She also said Trump has consistently called for these principles in immigration reform.

"The president has been extraordinarily consistent on immigration and what his priorities are," she said. "His views are shared by the vast majority of the American people and have bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives."

Polling shows Americans want a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) deal that does not increase legal immigration or continue the practices of chain migration and the visa lottery system.

A January 2018 Harvard-Harris poll found 81 percent of respondents want 1 million or fewer total immigrants allowed into the U.S. per year, which is fewer than 2015’s total of 1.38 million.

Trump rescinded President Barack Obama's DACA executive order in September and gave Congress six months to find a legal solution.

Senate Democrats forced a brief government shutdown on Friday after a stopgap spending bill didn't address DACA recipients, and they relented on Monday and reopened the government after Republicans promised to bring up an immigration bill before Feb. 8.