Trump, Key Lawmakers Negotiating Immigration Policies


Democrats said their top priority is protecting 800,000 younger undocumented immigrants from deportation.

President Donald Trump reiterated that he would like to collaborate with Democrats to find a proper legislative solution to allow those protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to stay in the country. "The pathway to citizenship is the wall for the Democrats".

Trump, even as he ended the DACA program, has occasionally voiced sympathy for the plight of the young immigrants, many of whom only know the their home.

The goal is to reach an agreement between Democrats and Republicans, while still accomplishing Trump's campaign goal of building a border wall and deporting undocumented immigrants - something Democrats widely oppose. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said at the time.

Dick Durbin of IL, the No.2 Democrat in the Senate, has criticized the request made by the administration for wall and border security spending.

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"This is a DACA and border security fix", Hurd told CNN.

Nancy Pelosi, head of the Democratic minority in the House of Representatives, indicated she did not expect much progress from the meeting.

The government remained open, but Democrats remained closed down to the prospect of securing the future of the DACA beneficiaries in exchange for stronger enforcement and sensible reforms to legal immigration.

The answer may be in semantics.

"But I am anxious about the cost", said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum.

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While Trump's statement suggests he views the border wall as a security necessity, comments he made during a conversation with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto days after his inauguration indicate Trump's motivation for pushing for the wall has to do with politics, not national security.

But Democrats have long drawn a line in the sand on the wall, defeating funding it at every turn so far.

Trump, under pressure from some conservatives, has said any DACA deal with Democrats must include ending "chain migration", which could jeopardize the parents of Dreamers who are still in the United States illegally, and a visa lottery program. The source said the objective of the meeting is to show that Trump is actually working with Democrats on the issue.

During a news conference at Camp David on Saturday, President Trump made clear that he is unwilling to talk about providing legal protections for the almost 800,000 Dreamers in the country unless Democrats agree to spend tens of billions of taxpayer dollars on a border wall.

In the background, details are still being worked out on what a plan to help recipients of DACA would look like, and a bipartisan group of Senate lawmakers led by Democrat Dick Durbin of IL and Republican Lindsey Graham of SC continues to negotiate.

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"To throw down a list from the hard, hard-line wing of the White House is not a very fortuitous or smart thing to do", he added.