(CNSNews.com) - On two of the Sunday talk shows, Marc Short, President Trump's chief congressional negotiator, said the Trump administration is willing to expand the number of illegal aliens eligible for legal status beyond the 690,000 enrolled in DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
"We see progress," Short told NBC's "Meet the Press" with Chuck Todd.
"On our side, they (Democrats) said they want the 670,000 DACA population expanded. Senator Durbin has made the case to say many people did not register and they should not be held harmful. We've been willing to expand that population. So, there's progress happening here, which again leads us to, Chuck, why are we shutting down the government?" Short asked.
On ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos, Short also talked about the Trump administration's desire to strike a deal on DACA:
Keep in mind that these are people age 16 to 36 with work permits, which means they do not have any criminal background, they're here being productive to our country. We want to solve border security. We want to end the chain -- chain migration. We want to end the visa lottery program.
In two of those main functions, we are seeing Democrats move on the border security issue, which is one that our Border Patrol agents have said this is what we need to secure our southern border.
I think you've seen the White House show an openness to expand that population where Democrats have said there are other people who should be part of the DACA population because either they were afraid or didn't apply to the program. We've shown even a willingness to consider that. So we feel like we're making progress on multiple areas. What's befuddling, then, is why are we shutting down the government?
In a Friday meeting with President Trump, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reportedly agreed to authorize (but not appropriate) $18 billion for President Trump's border wall, if Trump would agree to the Democrats' demands on DACA.
But Democrats reportedly are resisting changes to chain migration and the Diversity Visa lottery.
"Is that acceptable to the president?" Stephanopoulos asked Short:
"George, I think the problem with that construct is we're going to be back here in the exact same position in a few years," Short replied. "If we don't solve the chain migration visa lottery programs, we will be back here in a few years debating over a new population.
"Let's keep in mind that two terror attacks, most recently that happened in the United States, the pipe bomber came in through chain migration. The one who -- the terrorist who ran over individuals in New York and killed several people, he came in through the visa lottery program.
"These are programs that Americans want ended. Why are we...delaying ending those programs for a future debate? We need to make sure that we don't end up back at the same table in a couple years having the same debate on immigration. So we want all these issues solved right now."
The Senate is expected to vote on Monday at noon on a plan to fund the government through Feb. 8, giving both sides more time to reach a DACA-border agreement. Republicans cannot end the government shutdown without Democrat votes.