The White House slammed a compromise immigration bill offered Monday by Sen. John McCain, calling the proposal for a three-year study of border security a “nonstarter.”
“It doesn’t need any more studies,” fumed White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley.
He said the proposal from Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican, and Sen. Chris Coons, Delaware Democrat, was worse than the Graham-Durbin plan that President Trump rejected during the run-up to the Jan. 20 government shutdown.
“It takes a special kind of bill to be worse for the American people than Graham-Durbin. But congratulations to Sens. McCain and Coons for developing one that’s worse,” Mr. Gidley said.
The McCain-Coons bill would grant a pathway to citizenship to potentially more than 3.2 million illegal immigrants “Dreamers” who came to the U.S. before turning 18. It would do nothing to limit the chain of family migration nor does it end the Diversity Visa Lottery, as called for by Mr. Trump.
The Graham-Durbin bill put about 2 million Dreamers on a citizenship path, didn’t curb legal immigration and provided only about 10 percent of the border wall funding requested by Mr. Trump.
In the new bill, the biggest affront for the White House was the prescription of another study to determine what border security measures are deeded, with a 2021 deadline for Homeland Security to act on the recommendations.
“Results speak for themselves,” Mr. Gidley said. “Look at San Diego. Look at Israel. Look at what DHS asked for. There have already been studies. Washington, D.C., is consumed by pointless blue-ribbon commissions. those blue-ribbon commissions sound good but they never produce anything.”
The administration notes that double-tier fencing installed in San Diego about two decades ago reduced illegal border crossing by 90 percent. A wall built in Jerusalem cut illegal crossings by 99 percent.
“Walls work,” Mr. Hogan said. “The president wants to protect the American people with a wall and any bill that doesn’t have the wall component funded is a nonstarter.”
Mr. Trump still expects the Senate to take up a bill as soon as this week that achieves the goals he laid out: including funding a border wall, limits on legal immigration and a fix to expiring DACA program, the Obama-era temporary protection for illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.