US President Donald Trump appeared to threaten to target millions of people living in America illegally if he doesn’t get funding for his border wall.
Mr Trump tweeted that, “there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000-plus people who are here illegally,” adding, “Be careful Nancy!”
Mr Trump was referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who rejected his proposal to trade wall money for temporary protections for some immigrants.
Mr Trump also pushed back on criticism from the right that his proposal represents “amnesty.” But he said he’s open to using “amnesty” on “a much bigger deal” down the line.
Many, including Vice President Mike Pence, have defined the word “amnesty” as permanent status or a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally.
It comes as Mr Pence said it was “disappointing” that Mrs Pelosi rejected Mr Trump’s Saturday proposal to trade temporary protections for some immigrants for billions in funding for his border wall before he’d even delivered his speech.
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Earlier, Mr Trump has lashed out at Mrs Pelosi for rejecting his proposal to exchange temporary protections for some immigrants for $US5.7 billion ($A8 billion) for his border wall.
Mr Trump’s reaction came in a series of early morning tweets where he accused Mrs Pelosi and other Democrats of putting politics ahead of security and claims, without evidence, Mrs Pelosi “has behaved so irrationally & has gone so far to the left that she has now officially become a Radical Democrat.”
She made clear the plan was a nonstarter in the House after details were reported.
But Mr Pence said in an interview with Fox News Sunday that he is still optimistic the plan will gain traction after Repubican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brings it to the Senate floor on Tuesday.
Mr Pence said Mr Trump “set the table for a deal that will address the crisis on our border, secure our border and give us a pathway” to reopen the government. Democrats say they support border security but reject a wall.
Mrs Pelosi and other Democrats have rejected Mr Trump’s latest proposal and remain opposed to the idea of building a wall along the southern border with Mexico. The shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of workers without pay is now in its fifth week.
The Senate’s majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said he would take action this coming week on Mr Trump’s proposal to end the partial government shutdown. But Mr Trump’s plan seems to stand little chance of getting the 60 votes needed to move ahead in the Republican-controlled the Senate even as Mr McConnell pushes it.
Mr Trump has offered to extend temporary protections for young people brought to the US illegally and for those who fled disaster zones. In exchange the president wants the Democrats to vote in favour of the wall he seeks between the US and Mexico.
Delaware Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat seen by White House as a possible partner on immigration negotiations, has said he won’t support it. And Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, another key centrist, said she’ll study the details of the president’s plan. She isn’t saying whether she’d vote for it.
Mr Trump calls it a commonsense compromise, but Democrats are labelling his proposal to end the government shutdown a “nonstarter.”
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer accused Mr Trump of “more hostage- taking.”