WASHINGTON – President Trump said Thursday he’s open to a deal to protect some undocumented immigrants from deportation – but only if enough Democrats back his border wall with Mexico and other proposals on immigration.
“If we have support from the Democrats I think DACA is going to be terrific,” Trump said, referring to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that shielded hundreds of thousands of young people brought into the country illegally as children from deportation.
But, Trump told reporters during a meeting with Republican senators, “any legislation on DACA must secure the border with a wall … We’d love to take care of DACA, but we’re only going to do it on these conditions.”
Trump suspended the DACA program in September, giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative solution before ordering deportations to begin.
Democrats and some Republicans have strongly opposed ending DACA, which they said will lead to deportations of productive young people who came into the country through no fault of their own.
Yet Trump’s demands for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and an end to the longstanding practice of “chain migration” – the ability of U.S. citizens to sponsor their extended family for visas – have been sticking points to finding an agreement.
Democrats say Trump’s border wall is impractical and will do nothing to stop illegal immigration – and that other immigration programs the president wants to scrap are already tightly scrutinized to weed out criminals and terrorism suspects.
Still, Trump appeared optimistic on Thursday, saying, “We are, believe it or not, also working with Democrats.”