Trump says no deal on DACA without a wall

Alan Fram
Associated Press

Washington – President Donald Trump says he won’t back an immigration deal without money for a border wall.

Trump’s statement came Monday as two senators planned to introduce compromise legislation that would protect immigrants who entered the country illegally as children. The proposed legislation also would strengthen border security, but stops short of explicitly providing money for a wall along the boundary with Mexico.

Trump appeared to be responding to the legislation from Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons when he tweeted: “Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time. March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!”

DACA refers to the program that protected the young immigrants, also called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

McCain, R-Arizona, and Chris Coons, D-Delaware, are the authors of legislation, which faces an unclear fate. They said in a statement that it was designed to focus on two “pressing” border issues – the “Dreamers” and border security – so lawmakers could focus on completing a long-overdue budget deal.

The measure lacks Trump’s demands for limiting the relatives that “Dreamers” can sponsor for citizenship, and ending a visa lottery aimed at admitting more immigrants from diverse places including Africa.

The senators’ plan would create a road to legal status for “Dreamers” who arrived in the U.S. by the end of 2013 and meet other criteria, including no convictions for serious crimes. Once they’ve become lawful permanent residents, they can follow existing procedures to apply for citizenship.

Democrats and some Republicans want to give “Dreamers” a pathway to citizenship, but oppose cuts Trump would make in the number of legal immigrants allowed to enter the U.S. Conservatives oppose letting “Dreamers” become citizens. That stalemate has led many to believe the likeliest outcome is a narrowly focused bill or even no legislation at all.

The senators’ proposal is similar to a bipartisan House package by Reps. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Pete Aguilar, D-Calif.