The White House on Thursday denied reports that President Donald Trump is “open” to the so-called “Gang of Eight” immigration legislation.
According to The Hill, the 2013 “Gang of Eight” bill, introduced by a bipartisan group of senators, would have allowed millions of immigrants in the United States illegally to apply for citizenship after paying a fine and back taxes. It would have also increased security measures at the U.S.-Mexico border. Although former President Obama supported the bill and it was passed by the Senate, the House never voted on it.
Trump frequently took aim at Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), one of the bill’s authors, during last year’s Republican primary race for his role in the legislation.
Rubio is weak on illegal immigration, with the worst voting record in the U.S. Senate in many years. He will never MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2016
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) reportedly told journalists on Thursday that Trump told lawmakers that he is “open” to the legislation.
!!!!! Trump told senators he is open to Gang of 8 immigration bill, per Manchin. Lamar brought it up during meeting and need for reform
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) February 9, 2017
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) February 9, 2017
“[Trump] is open to reviewing the piece of legislation,” Manchin said, according to NBC News. “He says, ‘Well, you’ve got to start working on it again.’ And I says, ‘Absolutely, we will.’”
But White House press secretary Sean Spicer disputed the reports Thursday.
“Earlier in the meeting he said specifically at one point the Gang of Eight bill is amnesty,” Spicer told reporters in his West Wing office, according to The Hill. “Then he said, if you guys want to work on something, I’m willing to listen.”
Asked specifically if Trump opposes the Gang of Eight bill, Spicer said “yes.”
Should Trump consider the “Gang of Eight” legislation, it would mark a significant change in his hardline stance on illegal immigration.