On Thursday, President Donald Trump said he supports legislation directed at young illegal immigrants (so-called DREAMers) that would protect them from deportation. However, he said he also supports a “massive” increase in border security. He tweeted earlier in the day that a border wall along the shared US/Mexico frontier is still in the offing. Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said, “We’re working on a plan for DACA.” This was a reference to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that provides work permits and deferment of deportation for 800,000 illegal aliens who entered the country as minors. He confirmed, however, “The wall will come later, we’re right now renovating large sections of wall, massive sections, making it brand new.”
In his tweets, Trump wrote “no deal was made last night on DACA.” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Minority Leader, also stopped short of calling the agreement a “deal” on Thursday. Pelosi told reporters, “We agreed to a plan to protect our nation’s Dreamers from deportation,” while adding that she anticipates a “border security measure that does not include a wall” included in immigration legislation.
In a joint statement, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer wrote:
“As we said last night, there was no final deal, but there was agreement” that Trump would support DACA protections, they wrote. “What remains to be negotiated are the details of border security, with a mutual goal of finalizing all details as soon as possible,” the Democratic leaders wrote. “While both sides agreed that the wall would not be any part of this agreement, the president made clear he intends to pursue it at a later time, and we made clear we would continue to oppose it.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that Trump had called him in the morning to discuss immigration issues. “As Congress debates the best ways to address illegal immigration through strong border security and interior enforcement, DACA should be part of those discussions. We look forward to receiving the Trump administration’s legislative proposal as we continue our work on these issues,” he said.
The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2017
There are reports that at the Wednesday evening dinner discussion about immigration, there was agreement on Trump’s budget request that includes border monitoring sensors, road improvements, and aerial support to enhance border enforcement.
Senator Thom Tillis (R-SC) said that Trump has conceded nothing to Democrats. “I think the real question is, can the Democrats get on board with something that is fundamentally conservative and solves this problem for the long term, not just the short term,” Tillis said. “He hasn’t given up anything. He had a discussion with them, which he has to have.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared satisfied with the news, being an advocate of amnesty for illegal immigrants. “The president is trying to cut a deal that I think would be good for the country as a whole. He is not the president of 15 percent of the population. He is the president of all of us,” said Graham. “And if he could bring Democrats and Republicans together to find a place for these kids to stay in the country they know, and secure our border, that would be a giant step forward.”
Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said, “I think he ought to do the right thing and the right thing is to protect these DACA kids.” he said.
Trump became the focus of criticism from some erstwhile supporters. Author and controversialist Ann Coulter tweeted: “At this point, who doesn’t want Trump impeached?” She added, “If we’re not getting a wall, I’d prefer President Pence.” Radio/TV Laura Ingraham told radio listeners on Thursday that Trump and the GOP will pay dearly for any backtracking on building a border wall. “He’s going to get creamed for this,” she said. She reminded her listeners that Trump had led chants during his campaign of “Build the Wall!” Appearing to mock Trump, who when on his way to review post-hurricane reconstruction in Florida said “We’re doing a lot of renovation,” Ingraham said, “I don’t remember hearing ‘Repair the fence! Repair the fence! Repair the fence!’”