In an impromptu news conference in Ft. Myers, Florida, President Donald Trump insisted that allowing beneficiaries of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy is not tantamount to amnesty. “We’re looking at allowing people to stay here,” Trump said to reporters. Insisting that a purported deal with Democrats is not a road to citizenship for the approximately 800,000 DACA beneficiaries, Trump said: “We’re not looking at citizenship, we’re not looking at amnesty.”

Trump said that he has spoken to House Speaker Paul Ryan (D-WI) about the plan, and insisted that Ryan is “on board” with the idea. “We’re talking about taking care of people, people that were brought here, people that have done a good job and were not brought here of their own volition,” Trump said in reference to the DACA participants, who entered the US illegally as minors.

Trump said that there no deal yet with the Democrats, but they may be close to an agreement. He gave reassurances that he remains committed to building a border wall on the US/Mexico frontier: a central campaign promise. “The wall to me is vital,” he said while saying that funding is essential to any deal with Democrats. “We have to have an understanding that whether it’s in the budget or some other vehicle, in a fairly short period of time,” he said. “The wall will be funded. Otherwise, we’re not doing any deal.”

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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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