President Donald Trump said Wednesday he will veto any immigration legislation that emerges from Congress that does not include funding for a border wall and improved border security measures, a warning shot at moderate House Republicans pushing GOP leadership for a vote on immigration proposals.
“Unless it includes a wall, and I mean a wall, a real wall, and unless it includes very strong border security, there’ll be no approvals from me. Because I have to either approve it or not,” the president said in a Fox News interview that was taped Wednesday and aired Thursday morning. “There are bills going through. I'm watching one or two of them. We'll see what happens, but I can tell you there is a mood right now for border security.”
In the House, some moderate Republicans have partnered with Democrats in backing a discharge petition, a maneuver which, if it garners enough signatures, would force a floor vote on legislative proposals to protect Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, from deportation. Such a move would go against the wishes of Republican leadership, which has urged lawmakers not to sign onto the petition.
GOP moderates are demanding that any Republican immigration deal must include a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers – something the conservative wing of the party has opposed – if they are to back off of their discharge petition threat.
Trump himself has endorsed a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, but only as part of a legislative package that also includes funding for his promised border wall – which he has long said will ultimately be paid for by Mexico – and other immigration reforms, including an end to family-based migration, which the president has labeled “chain migration,” and a visa lottery program.
“I think it’s time to get the whole package,” the president told Fox News host Brian Kilmeade. “It’s not such a big deal, Brian. It's time to get the whole package.”