Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) late on Wednesday announced they had come to an agreement with President Donald Trump to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. On Thursday morning, Trump denied that the three had struck a deal.
Just over one week ago, Trump announced via Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the administration planned to repeal the program, with a six-month delay to give Congress time to act. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle cautioned Trump against repealing the program, which was put into place under the Obama administration and provides deportation protection to undocumented immigrants – also known as "DREAMers" – who were brought to the country as young children.
Schumer and Pelosi announced the deal following a dinner with Trump at the White House, during which they said the conversation focused on DACA. The agreement, which the two lawmakers announced in a joint statement, would "enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly," and would also include a package on border security, without provisions for a wall. Schumer and Pelosi said they would work out a border security package that would be "acceptable to both sides."
However, shortly following the announcement White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that while the three discussed DACA and border security, "excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to." The White House’s statement on the dinner with a group of bipartisan lawmakers also made no mention of DACA.
Early Thursday, Trump denied that he formed any deal on DACA with Schumer and Pelosi. In a tweet, he said there was no deal and that "massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote." The wall, he said in a subsequent tweet, "is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built."
Trump, however, did seem open to working out some sort of agreement with regard to Dreamers.
"Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?" he tweeted.
"They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own - brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security," he continued.
There are currently two bills moving through Congress that lawmakers could choose to act on. The Dream Act would provide Dreamers with a path to citizenship and would make them eligible to receive federal financial aid to pay for college. The BRIDGE Act would essentially make DACA law, rather than a program created through executive action.
Also on Wednesday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers also met to discuss priorities for legislation to protect DACA and address border security, The Hill reported.
"This afternoon the Speaker and Majority Leader met with a number of House Democrats at their request to discuss DACA, and they 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," AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told The Hill.
Publication Date: 9/14/2017