Washington — President Donald Trump said so-called chain migration provides “a gateway for terrorism” Thursday as he sat down with a handful of Republican senators to talk immigration.
Lawmakers have been trying to hammer out a deal on how to extend legal status for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children and had been protected from deportation by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Trump announced he would be ending the program last year, but gave Congress a March deadline to come up with a legislative fix.
Trump said Thursday that any deal he signs will need to include funding for his border wall, more money for immigration enforcement, an overhaul of the family-based immigration system and an end to the diversity visa lottery.
Trump told the lawmakers that he would “love to take care of DACA, but we’re only going to do it under these conditions.”
“Chain migration is a total disaster which threatens our security and our economy and provides a gateway for terrorism,” he said, referring to the current system that allows many immigrants to sponsor their extended family members.
Trump also said he hoped the overhaul will attract Democratic support.
“It would be really nice to do it in a bipartisan way,” he told those gathered, which included John Cornyn of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, James Lankford of Oklahoma and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
A separate group of Senate Republicans is scheduled to sit down with Trump on Thursday afternoon to discuss the budget and other legislative priorities for the year.
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