Trump urges bipartisan fix for young immigrants
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump told lawmakers Wednesday that he’s open to signing legislation protecting thousands of young immigrants 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, even if Democrats say it’s a non-starter.
During a White House meeting with moderate House members from both parties, Trump urged lawmakers to come up with a bipartisan solution for the nearly 800,000 young people who had been protected from deportation and given the right to work legally in the country under former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.
Trump ended the program earlier this month and has given Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the so-called “Dreamers”’ statuses begin to expire.
“We don’t want to forget DACA,” Trump told the members at the meeting. “We want to see if we can do something in a bipartisan fashion so that we can solve the DACA problem and other immigration problems.”
As part of that effort, Trump said he would not insist on tying extending DACA protections to wall funding, as long as a final bill included “some sort of border security,” said Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, who attended the meeting.
“He said, ‘We don’t have to have the wall on this bill,”’ recalled Cuellar. “He said: ‘We can put that somewhere else, like appropriations or somewhere.’ But that was very significant because a lot of us don’t want to tie DACA and the wall. We’re not going to split the baby on that one. So he himself said, ‘We’re not going to put the wall tied into this.”’
Trump has made a sudden pivot to bipartisanship after months of railing against Democrats as “obstructionist.” He has urged them to join him in overhauling the nation’s tax code, among other priorities.
Trump, who was deeply disappointed by Republicans’ failure to pass a health care overhaul, infuriated many in his party when he reached a three-month deal with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Pelosi to raise the debt ceiling, keep the government running and speed relief to states affected by recent hurricanes.