Trump says Democrats are 'AWOL' on immigration

Dreamer immigrants get front-row seat to Trump speech

Trump is speaking to the House and Senate Republicans' annual legislative retreat at the luxury Greenbrier Resort.

"We'll either have something that's fair and equitable and good and secure, or we're going to have nothing at all", he said.

They have begun to adapt to his unpredictable nature and, when it comes to investigations into Trump's 2016 campaign and presidential actions, Republicans have increasingly become strong defenders in a bid to invalidate his Democratic tormentors and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

The flood of low-skilled immigrants into the United States has suppressed wages, harmed American workers and strained federal resources, the White House said, a day after President Donald Trump called for a merit-based immigration system that could benefit Indian professionals.

Trump said almost seven in 10 Americans support a bill with those principles, and he argued that the American people were "pleading" for "extra strength" at the border.

He's also attacking Democrats for not supporting his agenda.

One, Rep. Dave Brat of Virginia, said in a statement earlier this week that Trump's proposal "opens us up to fraud and corruption" by expanding the universe of Dreamers beyond the roughly 800,000 who signed up for protection from deportation under an Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

He said that his offer potentially giving millions of undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, anathema to many conservatives, in return for $25 billion in border wall funding and new curbs on legal immigration was meant to force Democrats into a political bind while showing Republicans were serious about a solution after years of inaction. And while there was no formal immigration session on the agenda, Lankford and other lawmakers said the issue has come up frequently in informal talks among lawmakers.

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Should the White House measure pass the Senate, it is unclear if it would also pass the House given conservative GOP opposition.

"There's still a lot of work that needs to be done", said Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, in the Post's report.

Amid the optimism were nagging questions about whether lawmakers will enact immigration changes or deadlock over Trump's calls for a wall along the Mexican border and a path to citizenship for young immigrants here illegally.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said last month that he would open debate on an immigration bill if a bipartisan accord on addressing DACA were not reached by February 8.

Many Democrats have slammed Trump's framework. We made great progress but there is more to do.

Ryan added there is still more work to be done, "We need to close the skills gap in this country and we need to help people move from welfare to work so they can tap their true potential".

Sanford noted that more than 30 House Republicans have now made a decision to retire, run for other office or outright resign amid controversy - hardly a resounding vote of confidence in the Trump administration.

The top Senate Democratic negotiator, Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., has forcefully rejected the White House plan.