DACA ac­cord is on the ta­ble

PELOSI, SCHUMER SAY TRUMP OPEN TO DEAL More bor­der se­cu­rity but no phys­i­cal wall


Demo­cratic lead­ers an­nounced late Wed­nes­day that they agreed with Pres­i­dent 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 E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that in­cluded talks on tax re­form, in­fra­struc­ture and trade. Trump has showed signs of shift­ing strat­egy to cross the aisle and work with Democrats af­ter 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 cen­ter­piece of his cam­paign and pledged to build a “big, beau­ti­ful wall” along the U.S.-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.

In a sign of the po­ten­tial trou­ble

for the pres­i­dent, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), an im­mi­gra­tion hard­liner and early Trump sup­porter, wrote that if re­ports of a po­ten­tial im­mi­gra­tion deal are ac­cu­rate, the pres­i­dent’s “base is blown up, de­stroyed, ir­repara­ble, and dis­il­lu­sioned be­yond re­pair. No prom­ise is cred­i­ble.”

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, or DACA, an Obama-era pro­gram that has 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.

In a state­ment, 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. After­ward, 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.

“He said the wall doesn’t have to be nec­es­sary,” said Rep. Henry Cuel­lar (D-Tex.). “He said we’re go­ing to add [wall fund­ing] some­where else…. We’ve told him we don’t want to tie this [to­gether]. He said, ‘DACA, we’re go­ing to do it early. We’re go­ing to do some kind of bor­der se­cu­rity.’ He brought up the wall. He said that doesn’t have to be on this DACA bill.”

Democrats, and some Repub­li­cans, have re­sisted fund­ing a wall, say­ing such a struc­ture is not worth the bil­lions of dol­lars it would cost.

Sens. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lind­sey O. Gra­ham (R-S.C.) have in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion, called the Dream Act, that would of­fer dream­ers a path to cit­i­zen­ship. The num­ber of un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants that would po­ten­tially be cov­ered by that bill, how­ever, is ex­pected to be far larger than the num­ber of those who have DACA pro­tec­tions, a prospect that would likely en­gen­der more Repub­li­can op­po­si­tion.

Cuel­lar said he told Trump the Dream Act has suf­fi­cient bi­par­ti­san sup­port to pass and that the White House should be push­ing for a vote. Trump, Cuel­lar said, told the group: “Oh, it will be on the floor.”

Even if the pres­i­dent and Demo­cratic lead­ers claim to cut a deal, it will need the sup­port of GOP lead­ers, who are al­ready wary of the spend­ing agree­ment Trump bro­kered with them last week.

Pelosi and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) met ear­lier Wed­nes­day to be­gin dis­cussing the pa­ram­e­ters of the forth­com­ing im­mi­gra­tion de­bate. Ryan’s team sig­naled that de­spite the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ea­ger­ness to quickly seal the deal, it will take awhile.

Ash­Lee Strong, Ryan’s spokes­woman, said that re­gard­ing the plight of the dream­ers, the speaker “re­it­er­ated that any so­lu­tion needs to ad­dress bor­der se­cu­rity and en­force­ment, which are the root causes of the prob­lem. Dis­cus­sions among the Repub­li­can con­fer­ence will con­tinue in the com­ing weeks.”

Ryan is al­ready fac­ing grow­ing pres­sure from House con­ser­va­tives who have be­gun to ques­tion his lead­er­ship and even floated names of pos­si­ble re­place­ment as speaker. An agree­ment be­tween Trump and Democrats on a bill to pro­tect dream­ers could po­ten­tially put Ryan in the po­si­tion of hav­ing to de­cide whether to bring it for a vote with the prospects that it might pass with more Demo­cratic sup­port than among the GOP.


House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) met Wed­nes­day with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) on im­mi­gra­tion.


In a state­ment, Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Pelosi said they had “a very pro­duc­tive meet­ing at the White House with the Pres­i­dent.”


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.