White House press secretary Sarah Sanders slammed Democrats on Tuesday for "playing politics" with immigration reform and accused the party of refusing to meet President Trump's various demands despite supporting the same policies just a few years ago.

Sanders said Trump has repeatedly asked in negotiations over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that Congress simultaneously take steps to adopt a merit-based legal immigration system versus the family-based chain migration that currently exists in the United States.

"By definition, a merit-based system is colorblind. It's not based on race, it's not based on religion, it's not based on country of origin ... it erases all of those things and makes it a much more fair system instead of picking and choosing and trying to meet quotas and different things," Sanders said.

"Frankly, it's a system most Democrats supported and voted for just years ago," she added, referring to the 2013 Gang of Eight immigration bill, which created a new point system based on family ties and work skills and passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

"Now that this president is championing it, they are ... showing just absolutely signs and definitions of what hypocrisy looks like," Sanders said.

"Democrats need to quit playing politics and start doing what they were elected to do, and that is governing," she added. "They need to come to the table."

Sanders' criticism comes as congressional Democrats threaten to withhold votes later this week for a short-term spending bill if it excludes a fix for DACA recipients. Such a move would likely come at the cost of partially shutting down the government, which could deliver a major blow to either party in the midterm elections later this year.

Meanwhile, the president has said he will not sign any immigration legislation that omits funding for his border wall or serious reforms to the visa lottery program and family-based immigration.