Democrats seeking a deal to protect so-called Dreamers from deportation must be prepared to agree to a package that includes several White House priorities, including a border wall and reforms to the U.S. immigration system, President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning.
“The Democrats have been told, and fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc. We must protect our Country at all cost!” Trump tweeted.
Democrats have said they will not sign on to a bill next month to keep the government funded without a deal to protect Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and in many cases have no relationship to their country of birth.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her Senate counterpart, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), are set to meet next Wednesday with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at the White House, where the congressional leaders are expected to work on a DACA deal as part of negotiations to avert a government shutdown.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said in a statement that “We’re not going to negotiate through the press and look forward to a serious negotiation at Wednesday’s meeting when we come back.”
Dreamers had been protected from deportation under the Obama administration by a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which Trump rescinded, with a six-month delay, earlier this year. Trump said publicly that he hoped Congress would use the six months to codify protections for Dreamers into law, promising that “if they can’t, I will revisit this issue!”
Last September, Trump nearly struck a deal with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to protect Dreamers that included beefed-up border security but not funding for the wall, which the president had promised his supporters. But that agreement quickly fell through though, with the White House insisting on getting more from Democrats in exchange for a DACA deal.
Reforming the nation’s immigration system has been a priority of Trump’s that dates to the earliest days of his presidential campaign, when he made curtailing illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border a bedrock principle of his candidacy. During the GOP primary, he pledged to deport every single undocumented immigrant from the U.S., a position he drifted away from during the general election.
Trump has mostly stuck to his hard line on immigration as president, calling specifically for an end to the practice of chain migration, by which one immigrant can sponsor family members to come to the U.S., and the Diversity Visa Lottery, a program that awards visas to screened individuals from nations with lower levels of immigration into the U.S.
The president has been critical of the Diversity Visa Lottery program since a 29-year-old immigrant from Uzbekistan who arrived in the U.S. via the program killed eight people in October by driving a truck along a crowded bike path in New York City.
This article was published on politico.com