Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer opposes the immigration framework released by the White House on Thursday, a potentially fatal blow for the legislation in the closely divided Senate.
The New York Democrat accused President Donald Trump of using a proposed path for citizenship for Dreamers, the young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, as cover for making sweeping — and damaging — changes to the legal immigration system.
The one-page proposal released by the White House this week would allow as many as 1.8 million young immigrants to become citizens, while also calling for $25 billion in spending on a border wall and security as well as sharply restricting family-based immigration and eliminating a visa lottery system.
"This plan flies in the face of what most Americans believe," Schumer said on Twitter. While Trump "finally acknowledged that the Dreamers should be allowed to stay here and become citizens, he uses them as a tool to tear apart our legal immigration system and adopt the wish list that anti-immigration hardliners have advocated for for years."
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders shot back, tweeting that Schumer prefers "open borders & sanctuary cities over law & order and popular, common sense reforms."
Schumer's remarks further cement the Democratic opposition, leaving little clarity on how Congress will clinch an agreement to preserve expiring legal protections for the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals program. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called it "anti-immigrant" and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Trump's plan would institute Trump's "hardline immigration agenda—including massive cuts to legal immigration—on the backs of these young people."
Though many Republicans have coalesced behind Trump's framework over the past day, that won't be enough to make it law. The GOP controls just 51 votes in the Senate and would need to get at least nine Democrats behind Trump's plan for it to pass, a near-impossibility given Schumer's opposition.