Trump-Democrats close to deal on protecting young DACA immigrants
President Donald Trump is reportedly close to reaching a deal with the Democrats to continue the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program measures. Yesterday, senior Congressional Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer announced an agreement was reached following talks with Trump. Following this, Trump tweeted that "no deal was made" but later clarified that he'd support Congressional efforts to turn DACA into law.
On September 5, President Trump terminated the 'Dreamers' program which aimed to protect 8 lakh young immigrants brought illegally to the US as children, from being deported. Earlier, on behalf of the Congress, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan had urged Trump to reconsider terminating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era policy. It provides work and study permits to thousands of so-called "Dreamers."
The DACA program intends to protect youth under 30, termed "Dreamers" from deportation. Under the program, the selected applicants are provided study or work permits after the FBI thoroughly verifies their personal information. In return, the US government defers action based on their immigration status for two years. At least 800,000 Dreamers, mostly from Latin America and Mexico are currently under DACA protection.
Pelosi and Schumer had said on Wednesday following a dinner with Trump: "We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that's acceptable to both sides." Democrats have repeatedly asserted that they would block any legislation opening up funding for Trump's key campaign pledge of constructing the US-Mexico border wall.
On Thursday morning, Trump rejected the Democrats' claims and tweeted that the DACA deal and his border security plans (mainly the US-Mexico border wall) would be subjected to a Congressional vote. Trump later clarified he would back DACA and that existing border infrastructure is already being renovated. He said the larger wall is being designed and "it will be funded a little bit later."
On Thursday, Pelosi and Schumer indicated the DACA deal is close. "What remains to be negotiated are the details of border security, with a mutual goal of finalizing all details as soon as possible," they said. The wall won't be part of this agreement. They said Trump would "pursue it at a later time, and we made clear we would continue to oppose it."
On Twitter, Trump defended the 800,000 "Dreamers" protected by DACA calling them "good, educated and accomplished young people" who "have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own." Trump said House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, both senior Republicans, are "very much on board" with the plans to enshrine DACA into law.