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Trump dismisses bipartisan immigration bill as 'waste of time'

By
Ed Adamczyk and Danielle Haynes
A bipartisan proposal to grant permanent protections to DACA recipients was criticized by President Donald Trump Monday, who called the bill a waste of time. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
A bipartisan proposal to grant permanent protections to DACA recipients was criticized by President Donald Trump Monday, who called the bill a "waste of time." Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 5 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Monday said a bipartisan immigration deal set to be introduced to the Senate on Monday is a "total waste of time."

The bill sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Conn., would grant permanent legal status to those who arrived without immigration status in the United States as children, The Wall Street Journal reported. They have protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which is scheduled to expire on March 5.

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The McCain-Coons bill does not address family-based legal migration or the abolition of the diversity lottery, two of Trump's priorities.

"Andy deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time," Trump tweeted Monday morning. March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!"

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In September, Trump announced plans to end the DACA program unless Congress reforms it.

The bipartisan legislation also calls for a comprehensive study of border security and an immediate improvement in security on the United States' southern border. It does not, however, authorize a $30 billion expenditure Trump has requested for construction of security walls and fences.

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"It's time we end the gridlock so we can quickly move on to completing a long-term budget agreement that provides our men and women in uniform the support they deserve," McCain said in a statement Sunday. "While reaching a deal cannot come soon enough for America's service members, the current political reality demands bipartisan cooperation to address the impending expiration of the DACA program and secure the southern border."

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An unnamed White House official told CNN the bill is worse than the so-called Graham-Durbin proposal, which failed to pass the Senate last month.

While the bill is likely to meet resistance from Republicans in the Senate, it is almost identical to legislation sponsored by Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., in the House -- which has the support of 27 Democrats and 27 Republicans so far.

Both the Senate and House bills call for the use of drones and other technologies to secure U.S. borders. They also charge the Homeland Security secretary to submit a southern border strategy to Congress within one year, to include a comprehensive list of "known physical barriers" usable as border protection, and an estimated cost per mile for construction.

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The Senate legislation comes four days before a short-term spending resolution, reached last month after a government shutdown, expires. The stopgap funding was passed after negotiations were stalled by Democrats in Congress who sought to tie a spending bill to one resolving the fate of the DACA immigrants, known as Dreamers.

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