Trump, Democrats strike deal to save Daca
WASHINGTON: Democratic leaders have announced that they agreed with President Donald Trump to pursue a legislative deal that would protect hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation and enact border security measures that don’t include building a physical wall.
The president discussed options during a dinner at the White House with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, that also included talks on tax reform, infrastructure and trade.
Trump has showed signs of shifting strategy to cross the aisle and work with Democrats in the wake of the high-profile failures by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
A possible alliance between Trump and the Democrats on immigration would represent a major political gamble for a president who made promises of tougher border control policies the centrepiece of his campaign and pledged to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the US-Mexico border. A majority of Republicans, especially in the House, have long opposed offering legal status, and a path to citizenship, to the nation’s more than 11 million undocumented immigrants.
But Trump has vacillated over the fate of the younger immigrants, known as “dreamers”, who have lived in the country illegally since they were children. Under mounting pressure from the right, Trump moved two weeks ago to begin dismantling Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca), an Obama-era programme that allowed 690 000 dreamers to work and go to school without fear of deportation.
In announcing the decision, the president made clear that he expected Congress to pursue a plan to protect the Daca recipients, offering a six-month delay until their two-year work permits begin to expire in March.
The White House described the meeting as “constructive” and said the administration “looks forward to continuing these conversations with leadership on both sides of the aisle.”
Congressional aides familiar with the exchange said that Trump and the party leaders agreed to move quickly on legislation to protect dreamers, though aides did not disclose whether they agreed that the goal should be for dreamers to eventually be offered a path to citizenship.
In a statement, Schumer and Pelosi said they had “a very productive meeting at the White House with the president. The discussion focused on Daca. 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.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that Daca and border security were discussed but she said excluding border wall funding from a package deal was “certainly not agreed to”.
Earlier in the day, Trump held a bipartisan meeting with a group of House members. Afterwards, several Democrats involved in those talks said the president also had made clear that he did not expect border wall funding to be included in a legislative deal on the dreamers. – The Washington Post
Democratic leaders reached agreement with President Donald Trump to protect certain immigrants brought illegally to the US as children. The agreement was announced by Democrats Nancy Pelosi, pictured left, and Chuck Schumer.