WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Tuesday proposed a dual phase compromise with Democrats over the embattled DACA issue in an effort to help avoid a government shutdown.
During a bipartisan lunch where matters such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and border funding of a wall between the US and Mexico were discussed in great detail, the president suggested that an immigration deal could be reached in two phases. The first phase, which Trump referred to as a “bill of love” would address the children of illegal immigrants brought to the US, often referred to as “Dreamers” and border security. The second phase, suggested the president, would address sweeping changes to border security and funding for a border wall.
“A clean DACA bill to me is to take care of the 800,000 people,” Trump told a bipartisan group of 20 lawmakers . “We take care of that, and we also take care of security. And then we can go to comprehensive (immigration reform) later on.”
“I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with,” the president added. “You folks are going to have to come up with a solution. And if you do, I will sign that solution.”
The showdown with Democrats comes after threats from the left to shut down the government if the Trump administration fails to cut a deal protecting the roughly 800,000 illegal immigrants currently residing in the U.S. who were brought to America as children.
Trump, who campaigned heavily on securing the national border and the building of a wall to divide the U.S. and Mexico, insisted that Democrats approve funding for the wall before any such deal on so-called Dreamers would be approved.
The president last year ended the Obama-era DACA program, which shielded more than 700,000 people from deportation and gave them the right to work legally in the country, giving Congress until March to find a fix.
In total, about 1.1 million illegal immigrants are eligible for DACA benefits, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center estimate (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/05/if-original-daca-program-is-a-guide-many-eligible-immigrants-will-apply-for-deportation-relief/), which means that approximately 78% of those eligible have applied to the program.