Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton denied that he was the one who called President Trump and urged him to back away from the deal he was leaning toward making with a bipartisan group of senators on immigration.
Cotton said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” he did not tank the deal proposed by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that would have codified the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in exchange for increased border security funding.
“I don't think anyone got to Donald Trump. Donald Trump studied the proposal that Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham put before him and realized it didn't address any of our key priorities,” he said. “It gave legal protections to the people in the DACA program and gave mass amnesty to the parents as well, the people who created the problem to begin with.”
Democrats have been the true problem children in this negotiation over the future of DACA and about 800,000 illegal immigrants brought to the country as children, Cotton said.
There’s no real way to negotiate with the Democrats in good faith, he argued.
“It's hard for the president or for Senate Republicans to negotiate when the Democrats sitting across the table don't get what they want,” he said. “They run out and they misrepresent what was a good faith effort to listen and to build trust, claim that some ridiculous deal was made and then claim that the president walked away from that deal, and the media buys it, hook, line, and sinker.”
Cotton — who was among the lawmakers invited to the meeting with Trump, Durbin, and Graham on immigration last week — said there are certain things that must be included in any deal on DACA, namely an end to chain migration.
“Here's what the president and I and Senate Republicans have been clear on. We're willing to protect the children in the DACA program,” he said. “If we do that, though, it will have negative consequences.
“First, it will lead to more illegal immigration with children, and that's why the security enforcement measures are so important. And second, it means you will create an entire new population through chain migration that can bring more people into this country, not based on their skills and education and so forth, and that's why we have to address chain migration: a narrow and focused package that should have the support of both parties.”