President Donald Trump hinted he may be open to legalizing some 800,000 illegal immigrants in the United States in exchange for Democratic support in funding a border wall on America’s southern frontier.
Earlier this month, President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) action, which was first established by President Obama via a June 2012 executive order.
The DACA order, which has been challenged as an unconstitutional de facto legalization of 800,000 illegal immigrants, deferred the deportation of foreign nationals residing illegally in the US if they entered the country as minors. Recipients of DACA - often called DREAMers, after the proposed Development, Relief, and Education, for Alien Minors Act (DREAM) - deferrals are also able to apply for work permits.
To be eligible for the DACA program, illegal residents must have entered the US before June 2007 and before they turned 16, among other requirements.
Republicans slammed President Obama’s executive order instituting the DACA policy, calling it unilateral legislation by the executive branch. Expansions of the DACA policy have been challenged in court, resulting in a deadlocked 4-4 Supreme Court ruling which failed to decide on the constitutionality of DACA order and subsequent expansions.
On September 5th, President Trump rescinded the order – but delayed implementation of the move by six months.
But on Thursday, senior congressional Democrats announced that they had struck a deal with the president which would see the DACA policy passed into law.
Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declared that the president “had agreed to a plan to work out an agreement to protect our nation’s DREAMers from deportation.”
In a series of tweets Thursday President Trump rebutted the claim, stating that no deal had been reached.
“No deal was made last night on DACA.”
Yet in follow-up comments, the president suggested he was prepared for a compromise deal, backing legislation granting legal status to DREAMers in exchange for Democratic support for construction of a wall along the southern border.
“Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote. The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built.”
Trump also appeared to justify the DACA program.
“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really! 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.”
But Schumer and Pelosi did not appear prepared to back such a deal, saying they were willing only to “review border security measures that didn’t include building a wall.”
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan expressed support for a compromise, warning of “chaos” if Congress was not given a chance to legislate on the issue.
“I wanted him to give us time. I didn’t want this to be rescinded on Day One and create chaos,” said Ryan, who joined in on the meeting with Trump Wednesday.