Immigration

Democrat leaders say Trump agrees on plan to save Dreamers

The agreement would include border security improvements, but no border wall. But White House says it has not given up on border wall.
14 Sep 2017 – 10:34 PM EDT

The top House and Senate Democrats have announced agreement with President Donald Trump to protect certain immigrants brought illegally to this country as children - along with some border security enhancements.

The agreement would not include Trump's long-sought border wall but would enshrine protections for the nearly 800,000 Dreamers who benefited from the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program created by former President Barack Obama that Trump has announced he is ending.

The agreement was announced in a joint statement from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, following a dinner the pair had with Trump at the White House.

“We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides," Schumer and Pelosi said in a statement.

However, it was not clear if the White House came out of the meeting entirely on the same page as Pelosi and Schumer. "While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

Schumer's spokesman Matt House later tweeted" "The President made clear he would continue pushing the wall, just not as part of this agreement."
DACA has strong public support - 70 percent in polls - however, analysts say its remain unclear if any legislation along the lines of this apparent agreement would have enough votes in Congress to become law due to strong resistance form conservative Republicans.

"A lot of people in Washington are going to be walking around in neck braces tomorrow with whiplash because things have changed so dramatically, so quicky," senior political analyst David Axelrod, said on CNN late Wednesday.

It marks the second time in two weeks that Trump has bypassed Republicans to deal with Pelosi and Schumer.

Earlier Trump reportedly told lawmakers he's open to signing legislation protecting the Dreamers from deportation even if the bill does not include funding for his promised border wall.

But Trump remains committed to building a barrier along the U.S.-Mexican border.

During a White House meeting with moderate House members from both parties, Trump urged lawmakers to come up with a bipartisan solution for the Dreamers who had been protected from deportation and given the right to work legally in the country under DACA.

Trump ended the program earlier this month and has given Congress six months to come up with a legislative solution.

Also on Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan told AP he believes the president "made the right call" when he announced that he would give Congress six months to figure out what to do with DACA.

"I wanted him to give us time. I didn't want this to be rescinded on Day One and create chaos," Ryan said, arguing the time would allow Congress to "come up with the right kind of consensus and compromise to fix this problem."

As part of that effort, Ryan was due to meet Pelosi on Wednesday evening, before she headed to the White House for dinner with Trump.

The get-togethers came amid new signs that there may be room for compromise on the thorny issue of immigration, which has been vexing lawmakers for years.

Last week Trump infuriated many in his party when he reached a three-month agreement with Schumer and Pelosi to raise the debt ceiling, keep the government running and speed relief to states impacted by recent hurricanes. Both Pelosi and a top White House staffer also indicated Tuesday that they were open to a compromise on border security to expedite legislation protecting DACA recipients.

"This was something that the president talked about on the campaign trail, of being a good deal-maker and being able to sit down with members of both sides," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, of Trump's new appetite to working with Democrats. "This isn't new and people listened and heard the president and certainly supported him, and that's why he's here today."

Democrats have been adamant that they will not accept the wall in exchange for permanent protections for DACA recipients, but Pelosi indicated Tuesday she would be open to new border security measures of some kind.

"We always want border stuff, so that's not a problem," Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol. Still, she said: "We've been very clear. There is no wall in our DACA future."

History of the Dreamer struggle: five years of DACA

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