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Santorum: 'I don't support doing DACA, period'

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Santorum: 'I don't support doing DACA, period' 02:14

Story highlights

  • Santorum: Clean DACA bill is an "absolute nonstarter" for many Republicans
  • Ex-governor argued bill should be done clean before March 15 to prevent deportations

(CNN)Former Republican Senator Rick Santorum on Monday, said he does not support continuing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy in any form, despite President Trump expressing openness earlier in the day to including it in a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform plan.

Speaking with former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, Santorum, said the idea of doing a clean DACA bill -- a version of the policy without other provisions -- is an "absolute nonstarter" for many Republicans, himself included.
"I don't support doing DACA, period," said Santorum, who is a CNN senior political commentator, while appearing on a "Cuomo Prime Time" panel, anchored by Chris Cuomo.
    "If we don't have some sort of enforcement at the borders, some sort of laws in place to make sure that we aren't going to have this immigration problem again, then there's no point in creating any kind of amnesty or any kind of relief for people who are here now," Santorum said.
    Granholm, a CNN political commentator, responded, saying Trump was not quite as clear on that point when he said he wanted a bipartisan "bill of love" during a meeting on the future of DACA with members of Congress at the White House on Monday.
    "How do you love the Dreamers when you were the one to undo the bill in the first place?" she asked.
    Granholm argued the bill should be done clean before March 15 to prevent DACA recipients -- known as Dreamers -- from being exposed to deportation. From there, she said, lawmakers could go on to work on more comprehensive immigration reform, as was addressed by the bi-partisan group of legislators known as the Gang of Eight in 2015.
    Santorum noted three provisions Trump suggests for a bill he would sign: ending the diversity visa lottery program, getting rid of "chain immigration," which refers to immigrants coming to the US based on family connections, and the border wall -- which he acknowledged is "controversial." Both Granholm and Santorum acknowledged that the first two issues were addressed by the Gang of Eight.
    "But, as you heard from the President, he's flexible that the wall can be, yes, some wall and some other things that are included in addition to the wall," Santorum said.