President Trump pushed Democrats on Monday to negotiate a deal that would extend protections for young, undocumented immigrants, arguing such a deal should not be attached to the two-year budget Congress is preparing to pass.
"I did not want DACA in the budget," Trump said Monday, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that his administration plans to wind down early next month.
"If Democrats want a deal, it's really up to them," he added.
Some Democrats have fought unsuccessfully to include DACA protections in the temporary spending bills Congress has passed since the start of the fiscal year. The White House has argued against a deal that ties immigration and the budget together, instead pushing to legislate the two separately before the March 5 deadline.
The White House has said any immigration deal must address four areas: DACA protections for undocumented immigrants brought into the country illegally as children, border security and funding for the border wall, an end or changes to the diversity visa lottery program, and changes to family-based migration policies. In exchange for the last three policies, the administration has endorsed legal status for 1.8 million DACA-eligible immigrants.
DACA was put in place through executive action by former President Barack Obama, a move critics argued illegally circumvented Congress. Trump ordered an end to the program in September but gave Congress until March to codify its protections.