PALM BEACH (THE WASHINGTON POST) - President Donald Trump said Sunday (April 1) that there would be no deal to legalise the status of millions of "dreamers," undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, stating that the US border with Mexico was "getting more dangerous" and directing congressional Republicans to pass tough new anti-immigration legislation.
Trump also assailed Mexican authorities for being too lax in securing the border and threatened to "stop" the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) if Mexico does not "stop the big drug and people flows."
In a fiery Sunday morning tweet, sent an hour after he wished Americans a "HAPPY EASTER," Trump vowed, "NO MORE DACA DEAL."
The tweet came shortly before he was expected to attend a church service.
The president wrote, "Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. 'Caravans' coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!"
Trump was referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) programme, begun during the Obama administration to provide temporary protection to "dreamers."
Trump cancelled the Daca programme last fall but has said that he would like to reach a deal with Congress to protect the "dreamers" from deportation in exchange for funding to build his long-promised wall at the US-Mexico border.
But there is no clear path for immigration legislation, as he has rejected proposals from congressional Democrats.
Trump may have been reacting Sunday to commentary on Fox News Channel, which he is known to watch regularly. Fox aired a segment earlier in the morning with the headline: "CARAVAN OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS HEADED TO US"
Trump sent his tweet on the fourth day of his vacation in Palm Beach, Florida, where he has been staying at his private Mar-a-Lago Club with a small coterie of aides.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly did not travel with him, but senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, a proponent of hard-line immigration policies, has been spending the Easter weekend with Trump.
By calling for Republicans to use the "Nuclear Option" to pass tough new immigration measures, Trump seemed to urge a parliamentary procedure by which Senate Republicans could pass legislation with a simple majority of 51 votes as opposed to the 60-vote majority required to end debate and bring a vote to the floor.
In a second tweet, Trump lashed out at Mexico and threatened to "stop" the North American Free Trade Agreement, saying Mexican authorities are not doing enough to secure the border with the United States.
Trump wrote: "Mexico is doing very little, if not NOTHING, at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their Southern Border, and then into the U.S. They laugh at our dumb immigration laws. They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA. NEED WALL!
And in a third tweet, the president wrote, "These big flows of people are all trying to take advantage of DACA. They want in on the act!"
Trump's tweets come amid tense negotiations over Nafta between his administration and that of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
A call between the two men in February grew testy after Trump refused to publicly affirm Peña Nieto's position that Mexico will not pay for the wall's construction, leading the Mexican leader to cancel a planned visit to Washington.