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Trump calls for shutdown if no immigration deal

President Donald Trump said he would "love to see a shutdown" if Democrats refuse to back his immigration proposals. He also said the "stupidity" of the nation's immigration laws is allowing violent gangs like MS-13 to flourish in the U.S.

"If we don't change it, let's have a shutdown," Trump said of the nation's immigration laws. "We'll do a shutdown and it's worth it for our country. I'd love to see a shutdown if we don't get this stuff taken care of."

Trump added: "If we have to shut it down because the Democrats don't want safety, and unrelated but still related, they don't want to take care of our military, then shut it down. We'll go with another shutdown."

Earlier in the day, Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, defended Trump’s immigration proposal to reporters at the Capitol. Kelly said that Trump had “shockingly” offered a pathway to citizenship for about 1.8 million undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. Only about 700,000 of them had signed up for a program under former President Barack Obama, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, he said.

The difference between the two numbers, he said, “were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn’t sign up.”

Trump’s comments came as congressional leaders are negotiating a deal on spending legislation to avoid another shutdown.

Those talks have largely excluded the issue of immigration, which was at the heart of a brief shutdown last month. Trump rejected a proposed deal from Democrats that would have protected undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children from deportation, in exchange for some funding for the president’s proposed wall on the Mexican border.

The White House has insisted that the legislation also limit legal immigration by restricting people from sponsoring family members to join them in the U.S., and by ending a program that awards visas to people from countries with low rates of migration to the U.S.

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