Politics

White House Says McCain-Coons Is ‘Worse’ Immigration Bill Than Graham-Durbin

Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley pans another DACA proposal that 'doesn't address main problems that hurt America's security'

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley dismissed a new immigration bill drafted by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), speaking Monday during an interview on Fox News’ “Outnumbered Overtime.”

“It takes a special kind of person to write a bill that is worse than Graham-Durbin,” Gidley said.

Lawmakers are scrambling to reach even a temporary spending deal before a Friday deadline to avoid another government shutdown. But President Donald Trump rejected the McCain-Coons proposal because it omitted immediate border wall funding and failed to do anything on chain migration or visa lottery reforms.

“I have to give it to Sens. Coons and McCain. Congratulations, because it takes a special kind of person to write a bill that is worse than Graham-Durbin,” Gidley said. “They did it. It is incredible.”

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) offered a January proposal that was similar to the McCain-Coons proposal, but Trump rejected that one for much the same reason. And Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer refused to compromise, so the government shut down for three days.

Trump offered his own version of a compromise, including a provision for creating a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants covered by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Democrats demanded amnesty for an estimated 800,000 children brought to the U.S. by their parents before the shutdown, but they are now rejecting Trump’s offer.

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Gidley emphasized that any immigration bill must include “a border wall in a security package. The president has been very clear about this. You have to end chain migration. You have to end the visa lottery.”

He continued, “Absolutely the president wants to fix DACA. But let’s be clear — not having a border wall is the same thing as Sen. McCain going to bed at night and locking his front door, but leaving all the windows open. It doesn’t address the main problems that hurt America’s security. And walls work. That’s the secret.”

Related: Durbin Doubts DACA Deal, Second Government Shutdown Will Happen

Trump took to Twitter earlier in the day to dismiss the McCain-Coons proposal, saying “any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time. March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!”

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Gidley concurred, saying, “So, in order to protect the American people, you have to have a wall at the border” — an issue upon which many Democratic lawmakers have remained obstinate and refused to support fully.

“Everyone in America sees this, and for some reason these bipartisan bills keep coming forward that don’t address the problem. We can’t be in the same situation five years from now that we’re in today. The president won’t let that happen.”

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

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