Sarah Sanders admits Trump wants comprehensive immigration reform, aka amnesty
When someone supports "Comprehensive Immigration Reform", they support what most call "amnesty". Amnesty supporters can play word games all they want (see reform not amnesty), but CIR is what amnesty opponents mean by amnesty. "Immigration reform" could mean various things, but when you add "comprehensive" to it you're talking about mass legalization, aka full-on amnesty.
From the September 5, 2017 press briefing (bolding added, ):
...MS. SANDERS: The main effect of today’s announcement is that work permits and other government benefits are being gradually phased out. But rather than leave DACA recipients and men and women of immigration enforcement in confusing limbo, while the DACA program was challenged by states in the same court that struck down another of the previous administration’s unlawful immigration orders earlier this year, President Obama [sic] is laying out a responsible 24-month phase-out -- sorry, President Trump. (Laughter.)
No permits will be expiring for another six months, and permits will remain active for up to two full years. The President was elected partly on his promise to deliver meaningful immigration reform that puts the jobs, wages, and security of the American people first. He is delivering on that promise every day, and he has put forward serious proposals to Congress that would responsibly end illegal immigration, prevent visa overstays, remove dangerous criminals, protect American jobs and wages, and create a merit-based system that grows our middle class.
These are not just President Trump’s priorities; they are the American people’s priorities. For decades now, the American people, immigrant and U.S.-born, have asked Congress to establish a lawful immigration system that protects our country. They’ve asked for strong, secure borders, they’ve asked us to protect American security and American jobs, and they’ve asked us to have compassion, not only for those who are here illegally, but for unemployed American citizens, including millions of unemployed African American and Hispanic citizens who continue to suffer under a broken system.
The President’s DACA decision today brings us closer to a safer, fairer, and legal immigration system. Now that he has ended this unsustainable and unconstitutional program imposed by the previous administration, the President is calling on the men and women in Congress to fulfill their duty to the American people by truly reforming our immigration system for the good of all people.
...Q Sarah, in the context of DACA as a piece of legislation, would the President be willing to sign only something that addresses that? Or would it also be to have components of the RAISE Act? Would there need to be funding for the border wall? Or would he be willing to sign something that simply addresses DACA legislatively?
MS. SANDERS: The President wants to see responsible immigration reform, and he wants that to be part of it. But again, we can’t take just a one-piece fix. We’ve got to do an overall immigration reform that’s responsible and, frankly, that’s lawful. And that’s what the President wants to see Congress do.
Q What would be the priorities for him in a comprehensive reform package? It would be DACA and what else?
MS. SANDERS: And certainly to control the border, to improve vetting and immigration security, enforce our laws, and do things that protect American workers.
Q Sarah, you're talking about a comprehensive immigration fix from Congress in a span of six months, and much to the President's frustration, Congress hasn't been able to really do much at all this year. What gives him confidence that they're going to be able to act on immigration? Has he spoken to any congressional leaders since making this DACA decision?
MS. SANDERS: He's spoken to a number of leaders, but hopefully, as you guys all know, they just came back from a three-week vacation. I think that they should be rested and ready to take on some big challenges that America faces.
Q Why put the fate of the lives of 800,000 DREAMers, people --
MS. SANDERS: Because it's Congress's job to legislate. It's not the President's job to create law. It's Congress's job to create legislation. I think that's something we all learned in 8th grade civics; I know I certainly did. And I think that every member of Congress should know that that is their duty, and we're asking them to fulfill it. It's pretty simple.
Q Do you think they'll be able to do it?
MS. SANDERS: I think that the American people elected them to do it. And again, if they can't, then they should get out of the way and let somebody else take their job that can actually get something done.
Q It sounds the President is saying, and your saying, that if we're going to allow the DREAMers to stay in this country, we want a wall. Is that accurate?
MS. SANDERS: I don't think that the President has been shy about the fact that he wants a wall, and certainly something that he feels is an important part of a responsible immigration reform package.
...Q Thank you, Sarah. Quick question, yes or no, and then a follow-up. Would the President sign a standalone DACA extension?
MS. SANDERS: Again, I have addressed this. The President is hoping to work with Congress on responsible immigration reform, and I laid out the priorities that the administration has on that front.
Q So the President has voiced, and you've voiced, some objections to the constitutionality of DACA. Where does the President stand on the program itself?
MS. SANDERS: I think that in the answers that I have given, is that the President has been -- and I think part of the reason that this is complicated, and one of the reasons he's wrestled with this back and forth, in large part is because this is not an easy one, and certainly something where he wants to be able to make a decision with compassion, but at the same time you can't allow emotion to govern. And this has to be something where the law is put in place and it's something that he would support if Congress puts it before him.
Q You would support it, if it came with -- I am just trying to get the specifics
MS. SANDERS: Again, responsible immigration reform. We can't just have one tweet to the immigration system; we need really big fixes and big reform in this process. And we've laid out the principles that we feel are important in that.
Q Thanks, Sarah. I want to drill down a little more on what you mean when you say the President wants to act with heart and compassion in regard to these DACA recipients. Does that mean offering them a pathway to citizenship?
MS. SANDERS: I think it means providing a more permanent solution that's done through the legislative process; done legally and responsibly, unlike the previous administration.
Q A permanent solution -- does that mean you're giving them legal status, legislatively? Like, what is the permanent solution that the President --
MS. SANDERS: I think that's something we want to work with Congress to determine exactly what that looks like. But there has to be -- something needs to be done. It's Congress's job to do that, and we want to be part of that process. And make sure that there is a fix put in place and that this isn't ignored, like it has been for the last five years.
Q If Congress doesn't get it done by the March 5th deadline, considering the President's personal feelings about these DACA recipients, would he consider giving them additional time to get a solution passed?
MS. SANDERS: We'd like to have confidence that Congress will actually do their job. We're going ask that they do that and that they allow us to work with them and be part of that process. But again, if Congress doesn't want to do the job that they were elected to do, then maybe they should get out of the way and let someone else do it.
Q Sarah, when we heard from the Attorney General this morning, he repeatedly referred to DACA recipients as illegal aliens. And at one point he intimated that hundreds of thousands of Americans did not get jobs that were taken by DACA recipients. Does the President share that view?
MS. SANDERS: I think that it's a known fact that there are over 4 million unemployed Americans in the same age group as those that are DACA recipients; that over 950,000 of those are African Americans in the same age group; over 870,000 unemployed Hispanics in the same age group. Those are large groups of people that are unemployed that could possibly have those jobs.
But again, we're looking for fixes. We're not looking for complaints but we're looking for solutions. And that's our focus moving forward.
Q How do you reconcile those statistics with the idea that hundreds of thousands of people, if the President gets what he wants, could achieve legal status? How do you reconcile those two competing interests?
MS. SANDERS: Well, I think one of the first things is, the President is looking to create a whole lot more jobs in America so that it addresses both problems. There's a reason he's focused largely, since day one of taking office, in creating a better market for businesses to create jobs, to hire more people, higher wages.
He's gotten rid of over 800 regulations that have helped do just that. 1.2 million jobs have been created since he came into office, and every single day we're looking for more ways to grow that number. And so we're doing our part to address and create an environment that allows people to have more jobs. And we're going to continue doing that.
Q I’d like to ask you about North Korea. But quickly on DACA, is the President committed to honoring the will of Congress, essentially whatever Congress passes on DACA? Or does he reserve the right to veto a DACA fix if he feels that it doesn’t kind of holistically do what you're talking about -- a bigger-picture thing that touches on some of these things?
MS. SANDERS: As I've said, we want responsible immigration reform, and that would be part of that package and part of that process.
9/12/17 UPDATE: From today's press briefing with Sanders (bolding added) :
...Q Sarah, Marc Short also said today that the administration would not tie funding for a border wall --
MS. SANDERS: I believe he actually said it would be premature to determine whether or not that would happen.
Q So I guess what I'm saying is, it seemed to leave the impression that the administration would be open maybe to a bill for the DACA recipients that would legalize them without any other strings. Is that what you're saying?
MS. SANDERS: I think what we're saying is what we've been saying all along. We haven’t mixed messages here. We want responsible immigration reform; that hasn’t changed. The President is very much committed to the wall. We're also committed to some other principles that we've laid out, and none of those have changed.
... Q Last year, on the campaign trail, the President said he wouldn't support amnesty. But last week he asked Congress to legalize DACA. So why the change of heart?
MS. SANDERS: I think that the President has spoken out very clearly that he wants us to make this decision based on a variety of factors. But the number-one thing is that he wants responsible immigration reform, and part of that is including that in the process.
Q But what convinced him to have -- to want responsible immigration reform?
MS. SANDERS: I'm sorry?
Q What convinced him to want responsible immigration reform now?
MS. SANDERS: I think the President has always wanted responsible immigration reform -- something that is important for the country moving forward. But he also wants to make sure American jobs are protected, American citizens are protected, and that's why it can't be just one piece, but comprehensive.
... Q Thank you. Does the President believe that he needs to secure funding for a border wall before DACA? And I also have a second quick question.
MS. SANDERS: Again, I think it would be -- as Marc Short said, and as your colleague pointed out, it would be premature for us to make those determinations at this point. But certainly something that we want to make sure happens is that there is a wall -- that's something the President is committed to -- but we also want comprehensive immigration reform.
... Q A moment ago -- you’ve used the language "responsible immigration reform"; a moment ago you said "comprehensive immigration reform."
MS. SANDERS: I think the goal, again: responsible immigration reform; making sure that we have the principles that we’ve laid out and that I’ve laid out from up here accomplished in that package. So that's --
Q But not necessarily comprehensive as it had been talked about before?
MS. SANDERS: Yeah, responsible immigration reform.
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