Trump Urges Congress to Use ‘Nuclear Option’ to Pass Immigration Reform

April 2, 2018 Updated: September 28, 2018

President Donald Trump called on Congress to immediately pass immigration reform and urged lawmakers to use the ‘nuclear option’ to do so.

The president made the demand in a series of tweets on Sunday and Monday which referenced a caravan of over 1,000 migrants traveling from Central America through Mexico with the intent of claiming asylum in the United States.

Under current immigration laws, these migrants can cross the border illegally, get detained, claim asylum, and be released into the United States with a pending court date.

“Mexico has the absolute power not to let these large “Caravans” of people enter their country,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Monday morning. “They must stop them at their Northern Border, which they can do because their border laws work, not allow them to pass through into our country, which has no effective border laws.”

“Congress must immediately pass Border Legislation, use Nuclear Option if necessary, to stop the massive inflow of Drugs and People. Border Patrol Agents (and ICE) are GREAT, but the weak Dem laws don’t allow them to do their job,” he added. “Act now Congress, our country is being stolen!”

The “nuclear option” that Trump referred to is a way that the Senate can break through obstruction by the Democrats and vote on a bill with a simple majority. The Senate last used the nuclear option to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

Trump also threatened to end the North American Free Trade Agreement if Mexico does not do more to stop migrants on Mexico’s northern border.

The president suggested that the illegal aliens entering the United States are hoping to take advantage of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which gave temporary legal status to aliens who entered the country illegally as children. Trump ended the DACA program after using it to try and strike a deal with Democrats. On Sunday, he tweeted that there will be “NO MORE DACA DEAL!”

“DACA is dead because the Democrats didn’t care or act, and now everyone wants to get onto the DACA bandwagon,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Monday. “No longer works. Must build Wall and secure our borders with proper Border legislation. Democrats want No Borders, hence drugs and crime!”

Trump’s immigration reform proposal would end the diversity visa lottery and replace it with a merit-based system. The president also wants to end chain migration, a term used for people who bring in their extended family after becoming naturalized.

DACA is still listed on the White House website as part of the reform package together with the plan to build a border wall with Mexico. The president included DACA as an offer to Democrats whose support he needed to fund the wall. The latest tweets indicate he may be looking for other avenues to fund the wall, his signature campaign proposal. Trump has already indicated that he wants to use the military to build it, which would come out of the massive new military budget.

Asked about the meaning of his tweet about the DACA deal, Trump appeared to still leave some leeway for a deal.

“Mexico has got to help us at the border,” he said. “And a lot of people are coming in because they want to take advantage of DACA, and we’re going to have to really see.”

 

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