Little chance of deal on border wall, “Dreamers”
WASHINGTON» Despite President Donald Trump’s threats to shut down the government this month to win border-wall funding, there appears to be little appetite in Washington for a compromise deal that has been viewed as a potential win for both political parties.
Trump and Democratic leaders are rejecting talk of a grand bargain on immigration that would provide $25 billion for the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border in exchange for permanent legal status, and possible citizenship, for up to 1.7 million young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers.”
That plan was reportedly on the table in January before the White House derailed the talks by insisting on additional concessions, including slashing legal immigration and speeding up deportations.
Asked by reporters Thursday whether House Democrats would be interested in the original deal, possible incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi bluntly replied: “No.” The wall money and the Dreamers “are two different subjects,” she said.
Pelosi isn’t the only one squelching hopes for an immigration breakthrough. Trump signaled recently that he is in no mood to deal. Rather, he is looking to the spring — when the Supreme Court could rule on his administration’s blocked attempts to unwind an Obama-era work program for Dreamers — to win greater leverage in negotiations over their future.
“If the court rules properly ... we’ll get everything solved,” Trump told Politico last month, suggesting Democrats would have more urgency to accede to his demands.
The Dreamers have made clear to Democrats that they should recognize they have the upper hand at a time when the party is ascendant. Given the administration’s hardline enforcement actions — separating immigrant families and sending military troops to the border — advocates are refusing to cede ground to the White House.
“We stand true to our position that we should not be used as bargaining chips ... to give more money” to the Trump administration, said Greisa Martinez, deputy executive director at United We Dream, an advocacy group for immigrants who have lived in the country illegally since they were children.