President Donald Trump said Friday he would refuse to sign a new compromise Republican immigration bill that would bar his administration from implementing its policy of separating children from their parents or legal guardian at the border.
In an interview Friday morning with “Fox and Friends,” Trump said he was “looking at both” immigration proposals put forth by GOP members of the House — the compromise bill, as well as a more conservative measure.
But he added, “I certainly wouldn’t sign the more moderate one.”
The remarks could upend a painstaking process — that the White House had been involved in — for the Republican majority in Congress to reach a compromise on immigration and to end theTrump administration’s policy of separating families at the border. The proposed bills are set to be voted on next week.
Later Friday, Trump laid out his requirements in a tweet for any immigration bill he would sign.
In addition to curbing his administration’s policy — which has faced extraordinary criticism from Republicans, Democrats and Christian conservatives — the “moderate” bill Trump referred to earlier would provide $25 billion in additional funding for a wall along the southern U.S. border and legal status for people who came to the U.S. illegally as children, including a path to citizenship. However, the bill would tie the legal status of DACA recipients to uninterrupted border security funding.
The White House had been involved behind the scenes in crafting the legislation with congressional Republicans. Stephen Miller, a White House senior adviser and Immigration hard-liner, has been working with House negotiators, briefing the conservative Republican Study Committee on Wednesday on the details of the bill.
House Republican leaders released text of the highly anticipated compromise measure Thursday afternoon to its members. The chamber is scheduled to vote on the legislation next week, in addition to a more conservative bill sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.
The White House, in recent days, has been widely criticized for its “zero tolerance policy” to criminally prosecute people crossing the border illegally, which has resulted in the separation of children from their parents at the border.
On Friday, however, Trump said that while he “hated” that children were being separated from their parents, it was the fault of Democratic lawmakers, not himself — a false claim he has made repeatedly.
“I hate children being taken away,” he told reporters on the White House lawn. “That’s the Democrats.”
“That’s what the Democrats gave us,” he said.
Republicans control the White House and both chambers of Congress. Current law does not prohibit separating children from their parents, and it’s not a policy Democrats have pushed or can change as the minority party in Congress.
Crossing the border illegally is a misdemeanor for the first offense, and when parents are charged they end up in federal prison and separated from their children.