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Tags: trump | fairly | close | legislative | deal | dreamers

Trump: 'Fairly Close' to Legislative Deal on 'Dreamers'

Trump: 'Fairly Close' to Legislative Deal on 'Dreamers'

Thursday, 14 September 2017 08:56 AM EDT

President Donald Trump said Thursday he is “fairly close” to a deal with congressional leaders on legislation to protect from deportation about 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

“We’re working on a plan,” Trump told reporters as he headed from the White House for a trip to hurricane-ravaged Florida. Funding for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico “will come later,” he said.

Trump’s comments followed his dinner at the White House on Wednesday with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, top Democrats who later said they had reached a tentative agreement to combine the deportation protections for so-called “Dreamers” with added resources to bolster border security. While the Democrats said the deal wouldn’t include funding for Trump’s fortified border “wall,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said there was no such agreement on that item.

On Thursday, Trump said he’d spoken with Republican leaders in Congress and that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan were on board with the plan.

Earlier Thursday on Twitter, Trump had signaled support for protecting the immigrants but said “no deal” was made on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

“No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent,” he said. “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?”

A joint statement from Schumer and Pelosi on Thursday said Trump’s tweets “are not inconsistent with the agreement reached last night.”

“We agreed that the President would support enshrining DACA protections into law, and encourage the House and Senate to act,” according to the statement. “What remains to be negotiated are the details of border security, with a mutual goal of finalizing all details as soon as possible. While both sides agreed that the wall would not be any part of this agreement, the President made clear he intends to pursue it at a later time, and we made clear we would continue to oppose it.”

President Barack Obama shielded the young immigrants via executive order from expulsion by U.S. immigration authorities.

A key Republican in the debate reacted angrily to the possibility of a deal early Thursday. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, called out Trump on Twitter for undercutting efforts for a bipartisan agreement. Breitbart, the conservative news website run by former Trump aide Steve Bannon, carried the headline “‘Amnesty Don’” and said the president had caved on the issue.

The White House through an aide said that the president had a “constructive working dinner” with the two Democrats that addressed the plight of the young immigrants and a host of other issues, including tax reform, border security and trade. Another person at the dinner also said that Trump didn’t agree to exclude the border wall from the legislation.

White House chief of staff John Kelly, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, budget director Mick Mulvaney and legislative affairs director Marc Short also attended the dinner.

Bipartisan Group

Earlier in the day, Trump promised a bipartisan group of House members that he would seek a vote in Congress soon on protecting the young undocumented immigrants, said Representative Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat.

“He did say, ‘We need to move on this quickly. I don’t want to wait six months. People forget about it in six months,’” Cuellar said after Trump met Wednesday at the White House with about a dozen lawmakers who call themselves the problem solvers.

Cuellar said the president wanted to put in law the Obama-era program shielding immigrants illegally brought to the U.S. as children, and combine it with increased security along the U.S.-Mexico border and elements of a separate proposal giving immigration priority to high-skilled workers. Trump also stressed the need for low-skilled workers in the agricultural industry, Cuellar said.

Trump said his demand for money for a border wall would be addressed separately, the lawmaker said.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection is already pushing forward on Trump’s promised border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Earlier this month, the agency awarded contracts to build mock-ups. Trump has said construction could cost between $8 billion and $12 billion and even threatened to shut down the government if lawmakers don’t give him the money.

Six Months

Last week, Trump said he would cancel DACA in six months and called on Congress to act on the issue. The young migrants are known as “dreamers” after the proposed Dream Act that would give them legal status.

Third-ranking Senate Republican John Thune, of South Dakota, said earlier Wednesday that a bill was possible this year pairing the young immigrants measure with stronger border security.

“If it’s combined with border security, that’s possible,” Thune said. “Republicans who are inclined to be supportive of some sort of permanent DACA would have to have some border security.”

Last week, the president shocked his fellow Republicans by accepting the Democrats’ offer to raise the debt limit and keep the government open through Dec. 8 while providing hurricane aid. The bill was enacted by the end of the week.

“It looks like the White House has a new strategy” to be bipartisan, Cuellar said.

© Copyright 2022 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

President Donald Trump said Thursday he is "fairly close" to a deal with congressional leaders on legislation to protect from deportation about 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children."We're working on a plan," Trump told reporters as he headed from...
trump, fairly, close, legislative, deal, dreamers
Thursday, 14 September 2017 08:56 AM
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