STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Trump is a moving target as Congress negotiates on immigration

The Homeland Security secretary made the rounds Tuesday on Capitol Hill as she continues to press the agency's priori...

Posted: Jan 24, 2018 1:14 PM
Updated: Jan 24, 2018 1:14 PM

The Homeland Security secretary made the rounds Tuesday on Capitol Hill as she continues to press the agency's priorities in immigration talks -- but she's facing skepticism from senators about the administration's reliability on the issue.

The conversations on the Hill come as the Department of Homeland Security is working on a new list of items it wants to see in an immigration deal, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions in Congress and the administration.

DHS is preparing new guidance for lawmakers on what it supports in a deal, sources say

Senators are expressing frustration with the White House's equivocation

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who was one of a handful of red-state Democrats to meet with Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Tuesday, said she had told Nielsen plainly that without a promise from President Donald Trump, it was impossible to negotiate on immigration with her.

Senate-House divide on immigration in spotlight after shutdown fight

"There's things she wanted to talk about in terms of the priorities of the department in border security as we work on a bill, and I said, 'Listen: Here's the thing. I can't commit to anything until you tell me you have the support of the President,'" McCaskill said. "Because, you know, I think somebody's made the analogy of Lucy and the football. We've got to know if we're going to compromise, we've got to know that compromise will in fact have the support of the President."

McCaskill told reporters that Nielsen didn't commit that she spoke for the President but didn't say she wasn't able to, either.

"She didn't say she couldn't," McCaskill said. "She said, 'I understand what you're saying.' "

In addition to McCaskill, Nielsen met Tuesday with Sens. Jon Tester, D-Montana, Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota, Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, according to an official.

DHS is working off a document that was given to some negotiators in December and was passed out in the room when two dozen lawmakers met with Trump on the issue in a partially televised meeting earlier this month, according to two senior administration officials. However, after the cameras left that meeting, the President told lawmakers he hadn't signed off on the document and instructed them to disregard it, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, told reporters.

McCaskill wasn't alone in her frustration with the President's equivocation. Asked Tuesday about the White House press secretary publicly trashing a bipartisan proposal he had put together, Graham hit back.

"One thing I would say to the White House: You better start telling us what you're for rather than what you're against," the South Carolina senator said. "To my friends at the White House, you've been all over the board, you haven't been a reliable partner and the Senate's going to move."

DHS working on new guidance

Based on multiple conversations with members of Congress and their feedback and questions on various pieces of the proposals, one administration official said, the hope with the new written guidance is to clarify further what DHS thinks is necessary in a deal and why. The document is focused on the four areas that the President laid out publicly in that meeting: a solution on the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, border security, curtailing family-based migration and ending the diversity visa lottery.

Within the border security category, Nielsen has spoken publicly about a desire for more than just infrastructure and resources at the border -- and that the agency is pursuing legal overhauls to immigration enforcement that would give it greater power to remove undocumented immigrants from the country. Increasing enforcement authority has been a tough sell among Democrats.

DHS is also looking to add more depth on what the administration wants to replace DACA, which protected young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children but which the administration is ending. The official said that would be the "next big thing" for the administration to work through.

The official also noted DHS was "the only people who've put pen to paper so far" and was happy to clarify further but wasn't interested in "negotiating against ourselves."

And the official acknowledged lawmakers' desire for greater clarity, especially from the President.

"We understand that some of these members are going to have to get out there, and we want to give them a bill that they can support and they're not going to get their legs cut out from under them," the official said. "We understand that. We're working to get there."

McCaskill argued, though, that Trump has put Nielsen in a tough spot.

"It puts her in a very difficult position to lobby for something when she can't tell me the President supports what she's lobbying for," McCaskill said, adding that Nielsen told her the secretary "clearly supported the DACA protections," but the senator reiterated her concern about where the President stood.

"Then she listed things she wanted to see in the bill," McCaskill said, "and I said, 'Some of those things I think I could work with you on. But not until I know the President will stand strong for this and make sure he lobbies the House of Representatives to pass whatever it is we end up with on a bipartisan basis in the Senate.' "

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 605426

Reported Deaths: 9642
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion836221331
Lake45189680
Allen32646547
Hamilton29240315
St. Joseph27260380
Elkhart24354344
Vanderburgh19292248
Tippecanoe17905133
Johnson14974293
Porter14707168
Hendricks14295248
Madison10909220
Vigo10688179
Clark10581139
Monroe9338110
Delaware9089134
LaPorte9007162
Howard8177143
Kosciusko803182
Warrick668798
Hancock6639104
Bartholomew6443100
Floyd6377109
Wayne6106161
Grant5965115
Dubois554079
Boone549467
Morgan535595
Henry505564
Marshall502684
Cass482663
Dearborn476245
Noble471257
Jackson421947
Shelby413881
Lawrence389179
Clinton372043
Gibson369159
DeKalb345964
Harrison345644
Montgomery343354
Knox334339
Miami319844
Steuben313045
Whitley304526
Wabash301447
Adams299635
Ripley297545
Putnam294149
Huntington290659
Jasper288134
White272242
Daviess266774
Jefferson262538
Decatur246583
Fayette246348
Greene239262
Posey238128
Wells234050
LaGrange227662
Scott223439
Clay221832
Randolph212848
Jennings197736
Sullivan191133
Spencer190121
Washington183722
Fountain183127
Starke174843
Jay167022
Owen163637
Fulton163130
Orange157234
Carroll156415
Rush154418
Perry152727
Vermillion148634
Franklin147833
Tipton131832
Parke13038
Pike116226
Blackford110922
Pulaski96837
Newton90721
Brown87534
Benton86510
Crawford7929
Martin73013
Warren6777
Switzerland6575
Union6267
Ohio4867
Unassigned0375

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 853982

Reported Deaths: 10599
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin100550707
Cuyahoga849601082
Hamilton63509448
Montgomery42863417
Summit34586759
Lucas31151616
Butler30735231
Stark25598430
Warren19552140
Lorain18847223
Mahoning17215337
Lake15967154
Clermont15800111
Delaware1430578
Licking13130137
Trumbull12739313
Fairfield1269181
Greene11975136
Medina11504168
Clark10867265
Wood10289158
Allen9826126
Portage9213108
Miami911373
Richland9085117
Marion7437113
Tuscarawas7339181
Columbiana7286124
Pickaway721750
Wayne6987171
Muskingum693941
Erie6113127
Hancock549090
Ross546098
Scioto536364
Geauga503855
Darke467892
Ashtabula451073
Lawrence450154
Union447728
Sandusky434762
Mercer432488
Huron425441
Seneca424865
Auglaize421164
Shelby420522
Jefferson416769
Belmont412740
Washington385240
Athens37669
Putnam373575
Madison352129
Knox350222
Ashland342838
Fulton336543
Defiance328282
Crawford320573
Preble319137
Brown309121
Logan305532
Ottawa290143
Clinton287943
Williams277167
Highland273718
Jackson262445
Guernsey251325
Champaign249728
Fayette235130
Morrow23124
Perry228718
Holmes223874
Henry217349
Hardin211333
Coshocton204521
Van Wert201145
Gallia195426
Wyandot194651
Pike173917
Adams173015
Hocking171024
Carroll154216
Paulding143421
Noble120340
Meigs108024
Monroe100631
Harrison88421
Morgan82629
Vinton69513
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 13°
Feels Like: 20°
Angola
Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 12°
Feels Like: 23°
Huntington
Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 10°
Feels Like: 21°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 13°
Feels Like: 20°
Lima
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 20°
Light Snow Sunday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events